74 Records out of 22207 Records

Factors influencing elephants to destroy forest trees especially olea africana : the case of Ngare Ndare Forest reserve in Meru County

Author: Mwambeo, Humphrey Mwandawiro

Awarding University: University of Nairobi, Kenya

Level : MA

Year: 2011

Holding Libraries: University of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library ;

Subject Terms: Ngare Ndare Forest, Kenya ; Elephants ; Olea africana ; Animal behavior ; Trees ;

Abstract:

Elephants are terrestrial mammals which adapt to many habitats ranging from forests to deserts. At birth an elephant weighs up to 120 kilogrammes and an average of 4,000 to 6,500 kilogrammes at maturity. Elephants require plenty of food which consists of grasses, trees and shrubs resulting in great impact on vegetation. This study examined factors which lead elephants to destroy trees such as Olea Africana in the forest. The study was undertaken in Ngare Ndare forest reserve in Meru County. Objectives of the study were; to establish relationship between feeding habits of elephants and destruction of Olea Africana, to establish the relationship between behaviour of elephants and destruction of Olea Africana, to describe the significance and status of forests in relation to elephant destruction and finally to determine whether there are other tree species destroyed by elephant in forests. A qualitative research design was used in the study and data was collected using questionnaires, interviews and observation. Data was sorted out, edited and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists. Presentation of data was done using Photographs, Tables, Frequencies and Percentages. The study found that elephants destroy more trees during dry periods compared to wet seasons, trees break as elephants rub-off parasites on their bodies, elephant numbers are increasing in the forest reserve and there are many tree species destroyed by elephants in the forest. The study concluded that increasing elephant numbers and elephant's behaviour were key factors in forest destruction. Further research to establish socio-economic impact of forest destruction to population adjacent the forest was recommended. Kenya Forest Service and other forest conservation agencies will benefit from the findings of this study.

'Staying together' : people-wildlife relationships in a pastoral society in transition, Amboseli ecosystem, southern Kenya.

Author: Ferreira de Lima Roque de Pinho, Maria Joana

Awarding University: Colorado State University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2009

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences ; Animal behavior ; Pastoralists ; Wildlife ; Amboseli, Kenya ;

Abstract:

This study looks at three dimensions of the relationship between Maasai and wildlife: attitudes towards wildlife; cultural models of human-wildlife relationships; the aesthetic value of wildlife and its relation to support for wildlife conservation. First, I found that attitudes varied with land tenure, formal education, religion and gender. I used a regression analysis to identify predictors of positive attitudes towards wildlife. Being a Christian is the strongest predictor, followed by being male and residing on communal land. Second, I followed a cognitive anthropology approach to analyze how Maasai relate to wildlife. 'Cultural models' are implicit, shared cognitive representation of a conceptual domain that mediate our understanding of the world and are differentially distributed, socially transmitted and correlated with behavior. I investigated content and distribution of Maasai models of their relationship with wildlife. With discourse analysis, I identified two contrasting models of human-wildlife relationships. In the 'traditional' model, wildlife are seen as different from cows in everything but as having the right to be on the land since God meant for humans, cows and wildlife to 'stay together'. In contrast, in the 'modern' model, wild animals are useful and income-generating like cows, but people wish to be separated from them. I used cultural consensus analysis to determine the distribution of agreement with each model. It shows that there is one consensual model that is close to the 'modern' model. This study shows a shift towards models of human-wildlife relationships that are informed by western culture, the market economy and conservation. The consensual model contrasts with the vision that conservationists have for the ecosystem. Investigating stakeholders' cultural models is a step towards addressing such conflicts. Lastly, I examine the role of aesthetic value in human-wildlife relationships. I show that Maasai appreciate visual beauty in wild animals and enjoy the sight of wild animals. Then, I determine that there is an association between how Maasai aesthetically value species, preferences thereof and support for their conservation. The community-based conservation approach emphasizes the economic value of wildlife to local communities. This study suggests that these strategies would benefit from considering non-economic dimensions of human-wildlife relationships

Hormones associated with friendship between adult male and lactating female olive baboons, Papio hamadryas anubis [Kenya].

Author: Shur, Marc David

Awarding University: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2008

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Anthropology/Animal behavior/Papio anubis/Baboons/Hormones/ ;

Abstract:

Adult male and lactating female olive baboons ( Papio hamadryas anubis ) form non-sexual attachments described by researchers as 'friendships.' Explanations for the evolutionary function of baboon friendship for males and females have been debated by many primatologists, but have yet to be determined conclusively. I tested hypotheses concerning the adaptive significance of friendship for each sex with analyses of fecal hormones. For males, I examined the association between testosterone and glucocorticoids, and friendship formation and maintenance. For lactating females, I investigated the association between glucocorticoid concentrations and friendship. Fecal samples and data on social behavior and spatial relations were collected from 26 adult male and 22 lactating female baboons in two study groups located in Laikipia, Kenya. Hormone concentrations were assessed by radioimmunoassay. Friendships were determined from composite proximity scores (C-scores) calculated for each male-female dyad in the groups. In male friends, profiles for testosterone, but not glucocorticoids, were consistent with a 'paternal care' hormonal profile found in pair bonded primates and rodents. I argue that testosterone concentrations in male baboons suggest a hormonal mechanism underlying friendship and paternal solicitude similar to that in other mammals. The glucocorticoid profile of male friends led me to an alternative conclusion: periparturition and chronic elevation of glucocorticoids in male baboons during the lactation phase of their female friends functions to decrease testosterone and thereby divert male behavioral strategies from male-male competition and mating effort toward friendship with lactating females (and their infants). In lactating females, glucocorticoid levels were consistent with the hypothesis that male friends buffer lactating females from harassment induced stress. More particularly, my data suggest that lactating females are susceptible to stress from harassment by adult males rather than higher-ranking females, and that male friends may serve a protective function.

Threat-sensitive behavior and its ontogenetic development in top mammalian carnivores [Kenya].

Author: Pangle, Wiline Mallory

Awarding University: Michigan State University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2008

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences/Animal behavior/Lions/Wildcats/ ;

Abstract:

Animals have evolved behaviors to both detect and respond to threats in order to maximize survivorship. In my dissertation, I describe four studies that focused on inter- and intra-specific variation in threat-sensitive behaviors, with special attention to vigilance, among East African mammalian carnivores. I first evaluated the functions of vigilance behavior in adult and juvenile spotted hyenas ( Crocuta crocuta ) by observing them in various behavioral contexts and over gradients of risk. The results indicated that the main function of vigilance in hyenas is to detect inter-specific rather than intra-specific threats, as vigilance was lower when hyenas were in large than small groups, and was not affected by social rank. Vigilance was also highly context-specific, with hyenas most vigilant when nursing a young litter, and least vigilant when consuming food of high quality. Adult hyenas exhibited pronounced individual variation in vigilance. Juvenile hyenas were less vigilant than adults in all contexts and showed less consistency in their vigilance behavior. I then further explored the ontogenetic variation in vigilance apparent in the first study. I used playback experiments to evaluate age-related variation in responses by spotted hyenas to roars of their main natural predators, lions ( Panthera leo ). Both juvenile and adult hyenas moved in response to lion roars, but not to control sounds. Juveniles showed a stronger response to lion sounds than did adults. Both juvenile and adult hyenas also had stronger reactions to roars emitted by male than female lions. Thus, juvenile hyenas appear to associate certain signals with dangers, and respond accordingly. However, during ontogeny, young hyenas may need experience with danger to learn the specific environmental circumstances under which they need to be vigilant when no threat is immediately apparent. The third study assessed the lethal and non-lethal effects of anthropogenic activities by comparing vigilance in an undisturbed population of hyenas to that in one experiencing human disturbance. Proportions of deaths of known causes that were attributable to humans increased between 1988 and 2006 in the disturbed population. In addition, hyenas from the disturbed population were more vigilant during rest than hyenas from the undisturbed population, especially on days during which livestock were grazing in their territory. I assessed this livestock effect using playback experiments of cow bells. I found that hyenas from the disturbed population responded more strongly to these bells, but also to control sounds, than did hyenas from the undisturbed populations, indicating a heightened responsiveness to all unnatural sounds. The last study placed the findings from the previous studies in a comparative perspective by examining vigilance by adult members of eight sympatric East African carnivore species. Vigilance varied strongly among the eight species, and this could be attributed to variation in body size, mortality rate and sociality. In addition, each carnivore species spent about the same amount of time vigilant during rest as when feeding, but vigilance strategies differed between these activities in a way that was consistent among species. Animals generally exhibited long, infrequent vigilance bouts during rest, and short, frequent vigilance bouts when feeding

The effects of translocation on the behavior of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) [Kenya].

Author: Pinter-Wollman, Noa Michal

Awarding University: University of California, Davis, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2008

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences/Elephants/Loxodonta africana/Animal behavior/Ecology/ ;

Abstract:

Animals often encounter novel environments, both naturally and due to human activities. Translocations are conservation actions that introduce animals to new habitats. Animals' behaviors post-release can provide useful tools for assessing translocations' outcomes. In addition, translocations provide extraordinary opportunities for studying basic questions about the animals' behavior in novel settings that are relevant to natural life history stages, such as dispersal. Here I present the outcome of the largest African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) translocation. In Chapter One I examine the settlement process of the translocated elephants. I show that both males and females left the release site and returned home. In addition, the exploration patterns of the elephants remaining at the release site varied greatly among individuals, and the degree to which individuals explored their new home negatively correlated with their approach distance to a human observer. In Chapter Two I provide details on the translocated elephants' demographics, behavior, and physiology, and compare them to the local resident population. The translocated elephants' behavior and stress hormones converged with those of the local population. However, the translocated elephants' death rates were higher than those of the locals and their body condition was poorer. These two first chapters use behavior to assess the outcomes of the translocation and to provide recommendations for future management actions. In Chapter Three I address basic questions in animal behavior by examining the social response of the translocated elephants to their new home. The translocated elephants preferred interacting with more conspecifics upon arrival to their new home than later, when the habitat became familiar to them, suggesting there are added benefits to sociality when a habitat is unfamiliar. Furthermore, I show that the translocated elephants preferred interacting with familiar conspecifics and not with the local residents. This social segregation dissolved over time, suggesting that elephants are able to integrate into an existing social setting. This study melds applied and basic research in animal behavior. It is the first to report on the outcomes of an elephant translocation that involves both family groups and adult males, and it successfully utilizes management actions to explore animals' behavior

Movement decision-making in plains zebra (Equus burchelli) [Kenya].

Author: Fischhoff, IIya Reuben

Awarding University: Princeton University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences ; Animal behavior ; Zebra ; Equus quagga ;

Abstract:

ABSTRACT NOT AVAILABLE

Effects of habitat fragmentation on food habits, intestinal parasites and aspects of reproduction among praomys delectorum sub-populations in the Taita and Kyulu hills , Kenya

Author: Gitonga, John Wambugu

Awarding University: Kenyatta University, Kenya

Level : MSc

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: Kenyatta University Moi Library ;

Subject Terms: Praomys delectorum ; Habitats ; Vegetation ; Animal behavior ; Taita Hills ; Kyulu Hills ; Kenya ;

Abstract:

Due to their short life histories, small mammals are useful indicators of environmental health and fauna diversity. Despite this, little or no investigations on the effects of habitat modification on small mammals' diets in Kenya has been done. This study investigated the effect of habitat fragmentation on food habits and litter size of P. delectorum in three sub-populations of the Taita Hills and the Kyulu Hills population. Response of the forestdependant Praomys delectorum to anthropogenic disturbance in different forest patches of the Taita Hills suggests that it is an opportunistic omnivore as its population increases with increase in vegetation intergiditation. Food habits variation was assessed by comparing morphometry of the gastrointestinal tract while foetuses and placental scars were used as litter size indicators. The study also gave some information on intestinal parasites, and the histology of testes and ovary based on routine histological techniques. Total intestinal length was significantly correlated with body mass (r=0.624, P<0.001) and head plus body length (x=0.722, P<0.001), respectively. The linear response of total intestine length to head plus body length was greater ( b= 0.642, t = 5.951, P < 0.001) than that of body mass ( b = 0.214 t=1.983, P=0.053) suggesting it is a better covariate in removing size erect. A significant difference (F=2.883*, P= 0.043) in the relative length of large intestine was noted among the sub-populations suggesting variation in food quality. There was no significant difference in litter size ( F3,15 = 0.126 ns P =0.943) among the different sub-populations. Prominent nuclei of primary spermatocytes in the seminiferous tubules of both abdominal and scrotal testes were indicative of spermatogenesis though germ cells organization was clearer in scrotal testes. The ovary of female with vagina closed lacked corpora lutea which were nonetheless observed in the ovary of females with vagina open though developing Graafian follicles were observed in both. Thus vaginal condition is a good indicator of reproductive status in this species. Percentage prevalence of intestinal parasite conformed to the trends of anthropogenic disturbance among the Taita Hills sub-populations although Kyulu Hills population had the highest (63.16%) infestation. Information of this kind is essential in building a complete biological picture of Praomys delectorum like litter size and the intestinal parasites that infect it. Praomys delectorum display a digestive tract adaptation suggestive of an opportunistic feeder. This may have been due to change in food habits that could be associated with transformation of natural habitat into fragments.

Finding space for elephants : an investigation into the socioecological factors influencing local perceptions of human-elephant conflict in relation to air photo analysis of deforestation and agricultural expansion around Shimba Hills National Reserv

Author: Reuling, Mary Mariam Margaret

Awarding University: University of Wisconsin, USA

Level : MSc

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: National Council for Science and Technology Library ;

Subject Terms: Loxodonta africana/Elephants/Ecology/Animal behavior/Deforestation/Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kenya/Biological diversity ;

Abstract:

Shimba Hills National Reserve (SHNR) in coastal Kenya is well known for it great biological diversity and large resident elephant population. However, there is concern that high rates of land use/land cover change (LULCC) around the reserve, combined with ecosystem destruction caused by the growing elephant population, have resulted in severe environmental degradation and loss of endemic species. Additionally, many elephants have developed a daily habit of searching for food outside of the reserve boundary, leading to high levels of human-elephant conflict. An electric fence was erected around the reserve in an effort to mitigate this conflict, but continuing reports of crop damage indicate the ineffectiveness of the fence in entirely preventing elephants from raiding crops around the reserve. This research project integrates air photo analysis and interviews with local residents to determine the rates of deforestation and agricultural expansion during the 1900s and the socioecological factors driving local perceptions of elephant threat. The analysis is based on visual interpretation of L ULCC from a temporal series of aerial photos from 1991 and 1999 and interviews conducted around Shimba Hills National Reserve in 2005 and 2006. The integration of household interviews with remotely sensed LULCC data greatly improves our understanding of the processes of land use patterns and local vulnerability. The results of the air photo analysis demonstrate a strong link between deforestation and agricultural expansion around SHNR. Dense forest cover decreased over 50%, from 31 % in 1991 to 15% in 1999 while agriculture increased from 38% in 1991 to 54% in 1999. The analysis demonstrates how these two LULC categories are inextricably intertwined. Overall, the amount of bushland, open space, and developed land remained largely unchanged. The study found the four most significant socioecological factors influencing local perceptions of elephant threat were: 1) proximity to the reserve, 2) cultivation of cassava, 3) cultivation of coconuts, and 4) the ethnicity of the respondent. These variables were the strongest predictors of perceived conflict with elephants when multiple variables were included in the same statistical model. Local residents' perception of risk plays a major role in determining coping mechanisms and attitudes towards conservation programs. The results from this study demonstrate factors that shape vulnerability to elephant raiding around SHNR which is advantageous in the development of successful, long-term conflict mitigation strategies.

Social and ecological influences on survival and reproduction in the spotted hyena, Crocuta crocuta [Kenya].

Author: Watts, Heather Elizabeth

Awarding University: Michigan State University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences/Crocuta crocuta/Hyena/Animal behavior/Animal reproduction/Ecology/ ;

Abstract:

In this dissertation, I explore variation in survival and reproduction, incorporating molecular and behavioral analyses, in order to elucidate ecological and evolutionary processes in the spotted hyena ( Crocuta crocuta ). My approach was to examine variation within a single population of hyenas in the Masai Mara National Reserve (hereafter Mara), Kenya, for which longitudinal data are available, and to make comparisons between this population and a second in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, for which I collected corresponding cross-sectional data. Spotted hyenas live in complex social groups that are structured by linear dominance hierarchies. Contrary to the typical mammalian pattern, however, females are socially dominant to males. I examined patterns of survival to test the hypothesis that intense feeding competition, in conjunction with slow development of the feeding apparatus, favored the evolution of female dominance in spotted hyenas. As predicted by this hypothesis, weaning was a particularly challenging life history event for young hyenas, and both social rank and maternal aid influenced the probability of surviving after weaning. Despite the important role that top predators play in ecosystems, relatively little is known about the factors that influence large predator populations themselves. Therefore, I inquired how social and ecological variables affect survival and reproduction in spotted hyenas. First, based on longitudinal variation in the Mara, I found that prey availability, group size, and competition with lions all influenced birthrates, while competition with lions and rainfall influenced juvenile survival. I then tested alternative hypotheses to explain variation in fitness measures between the Amboseli and Mara populations. My results were most consistent with the hypothesis that interspecific competition with lions was the primary source of population differences. Population dynamics can have important influences on population genetic structure, which may in turn affect population persistence. For example, the genetic consequences of population bottlenecks are of particular concern to conservation biologists. While the Mara hyena population has remained large and stable in recent history, the Amboseli population has undergone a demographic bottleneck. Despite this bottleneck, however, the Amboseli population did not exhibit reduced genetic diversity relative to the Mara. Both the long generation time of hyenas and the frequency of migration may have influenced the genetic outcome of the Amboseli bottleneck. Finally, in light of the role that lions play in shaping reproduction and survival in spotted hyenas, I inquired whether hyenas use avoidance to minimize potentially costly encounters with lions. Using audio playback experiments, I demonstrated that hyenas do not consistently use avoidance behavior with lions. While the relative costs and benefits of an interaction did not influence response to lion playbacks, I did find consistent individual differences in risk-taking and vigilance tendencies with respect to lions, independent of social rank.

Anthropogenic influences on the behavior of large carnivores in the northern Serengeti ecosystem [Kenya].

Author: Kolowski, Joseph Mark

Awarding University: Michigan State University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Biology/Animal behavior/Serengeti National Park, Tanzania/Anthropology/Lions/ ;

Abstract:

Most large mammalian carnivores are in global decline, largely due to habitat loss and their involvement in livestock depredation. Increasingly, large carnivores are forced to adjust to living in landscapes characterized by human activity and disturbance. It is therefore critical to understand both the extent to which carnivores can adjust to human activities and the factors influencing human tolerance of their presence. Here I document the activity patterns and space use of three social groups, or clans, of spotted hyenas ( Crocuta crocuta ) in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya that vary in exposure to humans, and investigate the degree to which these behaviors are influenced by human activity, primarily in the form of livestock grazing. I also investigate the issue of local tolerance of carnivores with an intensive study of livestock depredation. Hyenas were active during 31.5 ? 2.7% of the 24-h period, and 96.2 ? 0.9% of all activity occurred from 1800-0900 h. Male spotted hyenas tended to be more active, and exhibit higher movement rates than females. Female hyenas in territories with daily livestock grazing showed lower activity and den use than hyenas in an undisturbed territory during the times of day when livestock grazing coincided with potential hyena activity. Space use patterns of hyenas with no exposure to livestock grazing were influenced by the location of the communal den, and the distribution of prey, vegetation types, and water features within their territory. Relative to this clan, hyenas exposed to livestock grazing showed a stronger avoidance of open grass plains and a weaker association with prey resources and den location. However, the distribution of livestock did not directly influence hyena space use patterns, indicating that increased use of vegetative cover by hyenas may be an important behavioral shift allowing temporary coexistence with livestock and their herdsmen. Hyena home range size, core area size, and core area location were influenced by the presence of a refuse pit at the edge of one study clan's territory. The most common rank group utilizing the pit was low-ranking females, and regular pit users were more likely to be found near the pit during times of relative prey scarcity. These results indicate that human refuse at pastoral villages may increase hyena use of these environments, and that this use may vary on a seasonal and individual level. Spotted hyenas, leopards ( Panthera pardus ) and lions ( Panthera leo ) were responsible for 53%, 32%, and 15% of attacks on livestock, respectively, that were documented along a Reserve border. Monthly depredation frequency was correlated positively with rainfall and negatively with natural prey abundance. The spatial location and size of local villages, and the fence type used at livestock enclosures influenced the vulnerability of these locations to livestock losses, with leopards and hyenas showing clear differences in selection of attack locations. Overall, improved fences, more watch dogs, and high levels of human activity were not associated with lower livestock losses to predators.