Bark stripping by sambar Cervus unicolor Kerr., in Gir forest, Gujarat.
During the summer when grasses become scant it has been recorded that sambars (Cervus unicolor) strip the bark of trees in Gir forest (Gujarat, India), especially of the species Bauhinia racemosa, Terminalia bellirica, Balanites roxburghii [Balanites aegyptiaca] and Randia brandisii. The reason for selecting these trees for bark stripping is not clear, but it may be related to taste preferences. A comparison of the percentages of total proteins and total sugars in the bark of all 4 species in summer (April-May) monsoon (July-August) and winter (November-December) seasons showed that these were highest during the dry (summer) season in all the species except Balanites roxburghii. Data are also given on the mineral composition (Ca, P and K) of the bark in each season. Together the data sets indicate that the nutritive value of the barks was high during the summer season. Bark stripping by sambars also damages the trees because it facilitates attack by insects and fungi.