The ranging patterns of elephants in Marsabit protected area, Kenya: the use of satellite-linked GPS collars

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the ranging patterns of elephants in the Marsabit protected area, north eastern Kenya, to ascertain the range of bachelor and female family herds in different seasons, and to identify corridor and noncorridor areas. Data were acquired for five bachelor and four female family herds equipped with satellite-linked geographical positioning system collars, and monitored from December 2005 to December 2007. Distinct dry (about 260 km2) and wet seasons (about 910 km2) ranges were observed, with connecting corridors (north-eastern corridor: about 90 km long, about 2-7 km wide; southern corridors: about 10-20 km long, about 2-3 km wide). The dry season range corresponded with Marsabit evergreen forest, while the wet season range matched with dry deciduous lowland shrubs. The ranging elephants moved at speed of about 0.2-20 kmh-1. Bachelor herds moved faster than female family herds. Elephants moved fast during the intermediate and wet seasons than during the dry season. The speed of ranging elephants was over 1 kmh-1 in the corridor areas and about 0.2 to less than 1 kmh-1 in the non-corridor areas. Expansion of settlements towards corridor areas needs to be controlled to avoid future blocking of connectivity between wet and dry season elephant ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-400
Number of pages15
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • conservation of connectivity
  • corridor
  • elephant migration
  • GPS collars
  • ranging patterns
  • satellite
  • speed

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