Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/32500
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Human footprint and protected areas shape elephant range across Africa
Author(s): Wall, Jake
Wittemyer, George
Klinkenberg, Brian
LeMay, Valerie
Blake, Stephen
Strindberg, Samantha
Henley, Michelle
Vollrath, Fritz
Maisels, Fiona
Ferwerda, Jelle
Douglas-Hamilton, Iain
Keywords: General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2021
Date Deposited: 7-Apr-2021
Citation: Wall J, Wittemyer G, Klinkenberg B, LeMay V, Blake S, Strindberg S, Henley M, Vollrath F, Maisels F, Ferwerda J & Douglas-Hamilton I (2021) Human footprint and protected areas shape elephant range across Africa. Current Biology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.042
Abstract: Over the last two millennia, and at an accelerating pace, the African elephant (Loxodonta spp. Lin.) has been threatened by human activities across its range. We investigate the correlates of elephant home range sizes across diverse biomes. Annual and 16-day elliptical time density home ranges were calculated by using GPS tracking data collected from 229 African savannah and forest elephants (L. africana and L. cyclotis, respectively) between 1998 and 2013 at 19 sites representing bushveld, savannah, Sahel, and forest biomes. Our analysis considered the relationship between home range area and sex, species, vegetation productivity, tree cover, surface temperature, rainfall, water, slope, aggregate human influence, and protected area use. Irrespective of these environmental conditions, long-term annual ranges were overwhelmingly affected by human influence and protected area use. Only over shorter, 16-day periods did environmental factors, particularly water availability and vegetation productivity, become important in explaining space use. Our work highlights the degree to which the human footprint and existing protected areas now constrain the distribution of the world’s largest terrestrial mammal. A habitat suitability model, created by evaluating every square kilometer of Africa, predicts that 18,169,219 km2 would be suitable as elephant habitat—62% of the continent. The current elephant distribution covers just 17% of this potential range of which 57.4% falls outside protected areas. To stem the continued extirpation and to secure the elephants’ future, effective and expanded protected areas and improved capacity for coexistence across unprotected range are essential.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.042
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Licence URL(s): http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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