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Do wildlife corridors link or extend habitat? Insights from elephant use of a Kenyan wildlife corridor

Do wildlife corridors link or extend habitat? Insights from elephant use of a Kenyan wildlife corridor
Do wildlife corridors link or extend habitat? Insights from elephant use of a Kenyan wildlife corridor

Human encroachment on wildlife habitats is leading to increased fragmentation; hence, there is an increasing focus on improving connectivity between remaining habitat. Large, wide-ranging species such as the African elephant, (Loxodonta africana), are particularly vulnerable due to their extensive habitat requirements. Wildlife corridors have been created to facilitate movement, with little knowledge to date on whether they serve their intended function as transit routes, or whether they simply extend the available habitat for occupancy. We collected data on elephant behaviour in the Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor, with the aim of quantifying the utility of the corridor. A grid of 25 camera traps was used to survey the 478 ha corridor over 11 weeks. Cameras recorded over 43,000 photos with 694 separate events triggered by elephants. Patterns of use varied spatially and temporally, indicating that certain areas were treated as habitat extension, while others were predominantly for transit. These differences were likely due to variation in vegetation cover and levels of human disturbance. Corridor use differed amongst individuals, suggesting that use may depend on both the characteristics of the corridor itself and the social or resource needs of individual elephants.

African elephants, camera trapping, connectivity, corridor
0141-6707
860-871
Green, Siân E.
ebe8ec0d-94aa-4324-a910-c9387e417f1c
Davidson, Zeke
9ace94ce-1118-452e-ba48-f11a45a826f0
Kaaria, Timothy
adf7e414-458c-4730-a8d8-a12f39fbc1a5
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Green, Siân E.
ebe8ec0d-94aa-4324-a910-c9387e417f1c
Davidson, Zeke
9ace94ce-1118-452e-ba48-f11a45a826f0
Kaaria, Timothy
adf7e414-458c-4730-a8d8-a12f39fbc1a5
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047

Green, Siân E., Davidson, Zeke, Kaaria, Timothy and Doncaster, C. Patrick (2018) Do wildlife corridors link or extend habitat? Insights from elephant use of a Kenyan wildlife corridor. African Journal of Ecology, 56 (4), 860-871. (doi:10.1111/aje.12541).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Human encroachment on wildlife habitats is leading to increased fragmentation; hence, there is an increasing focus on improving connectivity between remaining habitat. Large, wide-ranging species such as the African elephant, (Loxodonta africana), are particularly vulnerable due to their extensive habitat requirements. Wildlife corridors have been created to facilitate movement, with little knowledge to date on whether they serve their intended function as transit routes, or whether they simply extend the available habitat for occupancy. We collected data on elephant behaviour in the Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor, with the aim of quantifying the utility of the corridor. A grid of 25 camera traps was used to survey the 478 ha corridor over 11 weeks. Cameras recorded over 43,000 photos with 694 separate events triggered by elephants. Patterns of use varied spatially and temporally, indicating that certain areas were treated as habitat extension, while others were predominantly for transit. These differences were likely due to variation in vegetation cover and levels of human disturbance. Corridor use differed amongst individuals, suggesting that use may depend on both the characteristics of the corridor itself and the social or resource needs of individual elephants.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 11 July 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 November 2018
Published date: 1 December 2018
Keywords: African elephants, camera trapping, connectivity, corridor

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428589
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428589
ISSN: 0141-6707
PURE UUID: 7bb02689-b38f-4562-a2a9-6361a20f5be5
ORCID for C. Patrick Doncaster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9406-0693

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:37

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Contributors

Author: Siân E. Green
Author: Zeke Davidson
Author: Timothy Kaaria

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