TitleA reliable body condition scoring technique for estimating condition in African buffalo
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsEzenwa, VO, Jolles, A, O'Brien, MP
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Evaluating animal body condition is a necessary component of many ecological studies. Although many methods for assessing animal body condition have been developed, relatively few can be used for estimating condition on live animals. Noninvasive body condition scoring techniques have been developed for assessing condition in livestock and more recently such techniques have been applied to wild ungulates. In this study, we examined the reliability of a body condition scoring technique for assessing condition in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer). We compared a body condition score (BCS) based on visual assessment and manual palpation of an animal's body to two standard metrics of condition widely used in mammals: kidney fat index (KFI) and haematocrit (HCT). Across all buffalo, BCS was significantly and positively correlated with both KFI and HCT. For HCT, this pattern was observed among adults, juveniles, males and females; and in the wet season but not in the dry season. For KFI, BCS was significantly and positively correlated with KFI among adults, juveniles and males, but not in females. Overall, our results suggest that the BCS technique can serve as a useful method for estimating body condition in buffalo.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000271758600004