Intensity of elephant occupancy in Marsabit protected area, Kenya

effects of biophysical and anthropogenic factors

Shadrack M. Ngene*, Andrew K. Skidmore, Hein Van Gils, Sipke E. Van Wieren, Herbert H. T. Prins, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Albertus G. Toxopeus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This study investigates the factors that influence the amount of time elephants spend in various components of their habitat. Data on the occupancy intensity of elephants were acquired from four female family herds and five bachelor herds, collared with satellite-linked geographical positioning system. The elephants spent more time at the forest edge than in the forest. However, inside the forest, the intensity of elephant occupancy was higher around drinking water points than in other parts of the forest. The outcome of our research shows that the intensity of elephant occupancy was inversely proportional to distance to drinking water throughout the year. However, both distance to drinking water and season had a significant positive influence on moderate and high intensity of elephant occupancy. Steeper terrain significantly reduced intensity of elephant occupancy. During the dry season, high intensity of elephant occupancy was recorded around the Marsabit forest, whereas low intensity of elephant occupancy was documented on the lowland shrubs. Immediately after the rains, elephants moved to the lowland shrubs resulting in a transition from low to high intensity of elephant occupancy states. In contrast, a transition of high to low intensity of elephant occupancy states was recorded around the forest. In conclusion, the area around Marsabit forest and lowlands contains elephant habitat components utilized at different periods of the year and at different occupancy intensities. Loss of connectivity of the highland forest and lowland shrubs could result in local extinction of the elephants in Marsabit Protected Area. It is therefore important to maintain the connectivity of these areas through the reduction and removal of human infrastructure along elephant dispersal and migratory routes. This could be achieved through appropriate legislation, gazetting of the corridors as part of Marsabit Protected Area and fencing the corridors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElephants
Subtitle of host publicationecology, behavior and conservation
EditorsMaya Aranovich, Olivier Dufresne
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Chapter8
Pages153-172
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781621001003
ISBN (Print)9781621000662
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnimal science, issues and professions
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.

Keywords

  • Protected area
  • occupancy intensity
  • satellite
  • GPS collars
  • deductive model
  • human infrastructure
  • elephants

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Intensity of elephant occupancy in Marsabit protected area, Kenya: effects of biophysical and anthropogenic factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Ngene, S. M., Skidmore, A. K., Van Gils, H., Van Wieren, S. E., Prins, H. H. T., Douglas-Hamilton, I., & Toxopeus, A. G. (2012). Intensity of elephant occupancy in Marsabit protected area, Kenya: effects of biophysical and anthropogenic factors. In M. Aranovich, & O. Dufresne (Eds.), Elephants: ecology, behavior and conservation (pp. 153-172). (Animal science, issues and professions). New York: Nova Science Publishers.