Walk or stride? A question for roaming herds of elephants in Marsabit protected area

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This study investigated walking and striding of elephant herds to map the potential walking and striding sites, and determine the interaction of factors that influence the speed of walking or striding elephants. The speed of five bachelor and four female family herds was measured using satellite-linked geographical positioning system collars from December 2005 to December 2007 in Marsabit Protected Area, northern Kenya. The elephants stride (>200 mh-1) in the early morning (7:00-9:59) and evening (19:00-21:59). This is the time they move from night feeding areas to day feeding sites and vice versa. In the afternoon (13:00-15:59), elephants walked (<200 mh-1), with the female family herds slightly faster than bachelor herds. The herds walks and strides during late morning (10:00-12:59), with female family herds striding slightly faster (mean = about 220 mh-1; 95 % CI = about 200-250 mh-1) than bachelor herds (mean = about 200 mh-1; 95 % CI = about 180-210 mh-1). Slow speed (<200 mh-1) associated with foraging and resting were observed around the forest from 9:59-18:59. The forest edges were mostly used forforaging and resting during the day. Bachelor herds moved faster at night while female family herds moved faster during the day. The factors explaining the speed of elephant herds were distance from drinking water points and a major road. The elephants walked if close to drinking water and the major road. The drinking water points are interconnected by minor roads, which together with the major road are used as security patrol routes. Areas where elephants walk (<200 mh-1) are potential sites for poaching. Such areas should be a priority for security patrols.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElephants
Subtitle of host publicationecology, behavior and conservation
EditorsMaya Aranovich, Olivier Dufresne
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Chapter9
Pages173-192
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

  • Walk
  • stride
  • elephant
  • GPS collars
  • bachelor herd
  • female family herd

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