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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The movement of African elephants in a human-dominated land-use mosaic
Author(s): Graham, Max D
Douglas-Hamilton, Iain
Adams, William M
Lee, Phyllis C
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Keywords: African elephant
land-use mosaic
risk management
ranging behaviour
GPS tracking
human-elephant conflict
African elephant Behavior
African elephant Conservation Africa
Human-animal relationships
Issue Date: Oct-2009
Date Deposited: 17-Feb-2010
Citation: Graham MD, Douglas-Hamilton I, Adams WM & Lee PC (2009) The movement of African elephants in a human-dominated land-use mosaic. Animal Conservation, 12 (5), pp. 445-455.
Abstract: Land outside of gazetted protected areas is increasingly seen as important to the future of elephant persistence in Africa. However, other than inferential studies on crop raiding, very little is understood about how elephants Loxodonta africana use and are affected by human-occupied landscapes. This is largely a result of restrictions in technology, which made detailed assessments of elephant movement outside of protected areas challenging. Recent advances in radio telemetry have changed this, enabling researchers to establish over a 24-h period where tagged animals spend their time. We assessed the movement of 13 elephants outside of gazetted protected areas across a range of land-use types on the Laikipia plateau in north-central Kenya. The elephants monitored spent more time at night than during the day in areas under land use that presented a risk of mortality associated with human occupants. The opposite pattern was found on large-scale ranches where elephants were tolerated. Furthermore, speed of movement was found to be higher where elephants were at risk. These results demonstrate that elephants facultatively alter their behaviour to avoid risk in human-dominated landscapes. This helps them to maintain connectivity between habitat refugia in fragmented land-use mosaics, possibly alleviating some of the potential negative impacts of fragmentation. At the same time, however, it allows elephants to penetrate smallholder farmland to raid crops. The greater the amount of smallholder land within an elephant's range, the more it was utilized, with consequent implications for conflict. These findings underscore the importance of (1) land-use planning to maintain refugia; (2) incentives to prevent further habitat fragmentation; (3) the testing and application of conflict mitigation measures where fragmentation has already taken place.
DOI Link: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00272.x
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