ELEPHANT DISTRIBUTION IN A TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION LANDSCAPE: TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN RESOURCE AVAILABILITY AND HUMAN DISTURBANCE
Jeanetta Selier, Bruce Page, Rob Slotow and Enrico di Minin
University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Life Sciences, Amarula Elephant Research Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Biodiversity Research, Information and Monitoring, University of Helsinki, Department of Biosciences, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Metapopulation Biology

 

Abstract
Understanding factors that affect the persistence of charismatic megafauna in human-dominated landscapes is strategic to inform conservation decision-making and reduce conflict. In this study, we assessed the effect of environmental and anthropogenic factors on the distribution of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa. We combined aerial counts over a 12 year period with 10 variables on food availability and landscape and anthropogenic variables in a logistic regression. Models were run for the entire landscape, as well as smaller management units with different land-use practices, such as ecotourism, trophy hunting, and a combination of hunting and photographic tourism. The results of all models showed that human activities, such as human population density, the use of electric fences, and hunting, negatively affected the distribution of elephants. The provisioning of water was also found to be an important variable affecting elephant distribution. When planning transboundary conservation areas and corridors in human-dominated landscapes it is important to take anthropogenic factors and their effect on the movements and distribution of megafauna into consideration. In particularly, where countries with diverging management strategies are involved.
Presentation Topic
ELEPHANT DISTRIBUTION IN A TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION LANDSCAPE: TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN RESOURCE AVAILABILITY AND HUMAN DISTURBANCE
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EmailĀ Jeanetta Selier