Preliminary description of the diet of Hippopotamus amphibius L. in Loango National Park (Gabon).
Due to the paucity of suitable habitat, hippos are very rare in the Congo Bassin. Compared to East-African populations, Central African populations of hippos have been less studied. Information found in the literature regarding the animal's basic ecology is limited. This study focuses on the description of the diet of an isolated hippo population in Loango National Park (Gabon), comparing faecal analysis with a reference collection of herbaceous species from the savannas. The effectiveness of using faecal analysis versus using the floristic description of hippos' pastures was demonstrated. The most frequent herbaceous species identified in faeces samples were Paspalum vaginatum, Axonopus compressus, Stenotaphrum secundatum (Poaceae) and Desmodium triflorum (Fabaceae). The voluntary consumption of a dicotyledonous species (Desmodium triflorum) is novel for this species.