Population structure of the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius Linnaeus 1758) in the Luangwa Valley, eastern Zambia was assessed during the period 2005-2008. Field observations and laboratory examinations were used to classify hippos in age groups. Chi-square Test of age group composition showed a significant difference in the percent proportion of age groups in the population ( 2 = 57.98, DF = 6, = 0.05, P< 0.001). Calves one year old and less were not represented. Younger groups ‘iii’ and ‘v’ comprised only 15 percent of the population. The remaining 75 percent were older age groups vii - xix mainly comprising mature and senescent individuals. The age structure was biased towards older age groups. Skewed age distribution in favour of older age groups was an indication of a declining population growth rate. More research is required to investigate factors responsible for the decline in population growth rates.
Published Date: 2016-10-09;