23 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.

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

Coexistence in a land use mosaic? : land use, risk and elephant ecology in Laikipia District, Kenya.

Author: Graham, M D

Awarding University: University of Cambridge, UK

Level : PhD

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: Index To Theses ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences ; Land use ; Laikipia District ; Ecology ; Elephants ; Loxodonta africana ;

Abstract:

This thesis is about the patterns, determinants and consequences of human-elephant interaction in Laikipia District in northern Kenya. Laikipia is located outside of formally protected areas, supports a range of land use types and harbours Kenya?s second largest elephant population comprised of over 3,000 animals. I show that elephants occur across almost 50% of Laikipia District and, intriguingly, are relatively evenly distributed across locations under cultivation, settlement and livestock production. Results from over a 100km of ground transects, however, show that the relative abundance of elephants varies in relation to specific forms of human activity, in particular the risk of mortality presented by human occupants to elephants. Elephant use of intolerant land units, such as smallholder areas, is determined by human population density and distance from daytime refuges. An elephant?s use of smallholder areas increases with the proportion of land under smallholder production within an elephant?s range. Male elephants use intolerant areas more than female elephants. I show that elephants use cover of darkness to exploit elephant intolerant land units. I addition I show that elephants increase speed of travel through intolerant land units. I argue that these findings together with some preliminary evidence for aggregation in response to risk suggest that elephants demonstrate behavioural plasticity in response to risk and are, to some degree, resilient to human induced landscape change. Contact with elephants among local people in Laikipia varies with patterns of household resource use. Negative attitudes towards elephants were, however, not shaped by the likelihood of contact with elephants but rather by negative experiences involving elephants, such as crop-raiding, and/or knowledge of incidents in which elephants had either injured or killed local people.

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.

Reproductive behavior in male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and the role of musth : a genetic and experimental analysis [Kenya].

Author: Hollister-Smith, Julie Ann

Awarding University: DEnglande University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

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

Abstract:

Musth in male elephants has been recognized for hundreds of years in the Asian elephant and for at least twenty-five years in the African elephant, yet there is still a tremendous amount that remains poorly understood about this distinctive condition. Male elephants are atypical among mammals in continuing to grow in height and weight as adults, affecting musth duration and dominance rank. Additionally, because musth occurs asynchronously among males, individuals repeatedly rotate into and out of high rank in the population throughout their lifespan, also exceptional compared to other male mammals. Although these two features, indeterminate growth and lifelong repeated rank changes are unusual for mammals; male reproductive patterns are nonetheless expected to conform to existing models of mating systems and sexual selection theory. Thus far, however, no genetic parentage assessment in a wild elephant population had allowed evaluation of the hypothesis that musth males have higher reproductive success. I conducted the first successful genetic paternity analysis of a wild African elephant population to examine the relationship between musth and male reproductive success. I then determined how male state, in musth or out of musth, and two associated mating behaviors, mate guarding and mating, reflected genetic parentage. Finally, I carried out an experiment conducted within the captive African elephant population in North America to examine the potential chemical signaling role of urine dribbling exhibited by males when they are in musth. I concluded that age, size and musth all interact to affect a male's iv reproductive success and that males in musth sired a disproportionately large proportion of offspring in the wild. Male mating behaviors are relatively weak predictors however, for specific calf conceptions because estrous females switch male partners more often than previously believed. I also conclude that males are able to detect musth state in urine as indicated by their ability to differentiate between musth and non-musth urine samples using their vomeronasal or secondary olfactory system. Thus, chemosensory signals in urine may provide a possible mechanism by which males can avoid potentially injurious interactions with highly aggressive musth males, thereby extending their lifespan and greatly affecting their reproductive success

The role of elephants in habitat dynamics and its effects on other mammalian species in Mwea national, reserve

Author: Chira, Robert Mutugi

Awarding University: University of Nairobi, Kenya

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: University of Nairobi Chiromo Library ;

Subject Terms: Elephants ; Loxodonta africana ; Ecology ; Vegetation ; Mwea National Reserve, Kenya ;

Abstract:

The vegetation of Mwea National Reserve can be categorized into three distinct types characterized by distinctive woody plant species. These vegetation types are the woodland, bushland and the wooded grassland as previously defined by Van de Weg and Mbuvi (1975) and Chebures (1989). These vegetation types, however, can be further classified in relation to dominance and co-dominance of two woody species and structural composition of woody species common to all vegetation types. This latter classification was found important in determining vegetation dynamics, which is critical to future management of the reserve. The woodland vegetation type was split into two vegetation types namely the Acacia mellifera bushed woodland and Commiphora africana bushed woodland while the other vegetation types remained as previously described. However, there have been evident changes in vegetation types since their classification by Chebures (1989) where for instance the wooded grasslands were showing massive invasion by woody species common III the woodlands while the previously cultivated areas are now under the thick bushland. The elephant population density in the reserve is currently high at 0.88?0.31 km' but has not effected serious ecological changes through vegetation destruction. The elephants are only responsible for approximately 20% impact on woody plants in the reserve. Elephants seriously browsed on 7% of these woody plants while approximately 13% of the plants were slightly browsed. Proportions of dry biomass off-take and preference ratios on woody species show that Acacia ataxacantha and Grewia bicolor were the two most preferred woody species. Elephants, however, show disproportionate utilization of woody plants within height classes both within and between vegetation types. The height class I-3m high and height class >3m high were mostly preferred to height class <1m. The mean seasonal growth rate of woody plants was high as evidenced by changes in coppice heights of selected woody species utilized by elephants, especially for Acacia brevispica (94.51?6.26cm) and A. ataxacantha (93.51?6.26cm). The elephants, however, did not show preference for emerging coppices as food items. Elephants were similarly not found to browse or impact on previously browsed woody species by the elephants in the reserve with the exception of Grewia virosa and G. bicolor. Elephant use of vegetation types has no cascade effect on habitat use by other mammalian species in the reserve. For instance, there were no significant associations (p>O.05) between elephants and other mammalian species during the wet season and the dry season. The bushbuck, however, showed close association with the elephant during the dry season while the dik-dik, the sunni and the waterbuck were closely associating with the elephant during the wet season. Similarly, very few animals showed seasonal preference for various habitats in the reserve. All vegetation types were important to all species of wildlife found in the reserve in that the species had ubiquitous distribution. Very few wildlife species showed preference for a particular vegetation type in any season. It was only the elephant that showed avoidance of the wooded grassland habitat among species that were not recently introduced into the reserve. Pasture conditions within the wooded grasslands are poor, judged from high presence of invasive herb species and low diversity of grass species due to lack of a regular bum. Burned wooded grassland areas were found to have improved in species composition and biomass compared to unburned wooded grasslands. Low reserve occupancy by mammalian species, thick vegetation, poor infrastructure and poor road connectivity are a hindrance to promotion of sustainable tourism activities in the reserve. To maintain and evaluate the ecological integrity of Mwea National Reserve, a number of characteristic indicators are suggested for future monitoring and intervention management. They includ

The relationship between kinship and social behavior in wild African elephants [Kenya].

Author: Archie, Elizabeth Ann

Awarding University: DEnglande University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

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

Abstract:

When social groups are composed of unrelated individuals, the costs and benefits of sociality accumulate via direct fitness. However, most social groups are also kin groups, and when this is true, the costs and benefits of sociality can accumulate through both direct and indirect fitness. Hence, an important question in the evolution of sociality is: have indirect fitness benefits shaped the evolution of group-living and social relationships? Here we investigate this question for a natural population of female African elephants ( Loxodonta africana ), in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Female elephants are an interesting system for investigating this question because they represent an independent evolution of the well-differentiated social relationships observed in many mammalian and avian societies. In such societies, indirect fitness benefits are commonly invoked to explain the evolution of cooperative relationships; however, recent work suggests that the effects of indirect fitness have been overestimated. We tested the hypothesis that indirect fitness benefits have influenced female elephant social relationships via three predictions, that: (1) the flexible, fission-fusion association patterns observed among individual elephants and groups are correlated with genetic relatedness; (2) elephant dominance hierarchies are nepotistic, and (3) individuals bias cooperation towards and competition away from their closest genetic relatives. We test these predictions using genetic data derived from nearly 240 adult female elephants, long-term observations of associations among individuals and groups, and focal animal samples of cooperative and competitive behaviors. Our results show that female elephants spend most of their lives with their closest genetic relatives; relatedness within groups of females that spent 90% of their time together was 0.39. However, while this pattern suggests that females accrue indirect fitness benefits from social relationships, several other results indicate that direct benefits are also important. First, dominance rank relationships among female elephants are not nepotistic. Second, affiliative relationships are reciprocal and female elephants without close kin are not isolated from affiliation and cooperation. Third, and in contrast to the predictions of kin selection theory, females fail to bias competition away from kin. We discuss the relevance of these results to the role kin selection played in the evolution of sociality.

The socio-ecology of the African Elephant (loxodonta africana)

Author: Wittemyer, George

Awarding University: University of California, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: National Council for Science and Technology Library ;

Subject Terms: Ecology/Animal behavior/Elephants/Loxodonta africana/Wildlife conservation ;

Abstract:

A variety of challenges face the conservation of African elephants, stemming from the illegal poaching for ivory to habitat loss resulting in range restriction. Solutions to these challenges require information on the factors affecting population structure, movement and reproduction in this species. In this dissertation, I investigate the relationship between ecological variation and population processes in the wild elephant population inhabiting the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in northern Kenya. Both empirical analyses and theoretical approaches are presented, motivated by fundamental questions regarding factors influencing population structure and by applied objectives concerning the management issues facing this species. In addition, this work presents novel analytical techniques for defming and understanding population structure. In Chapters 2 and 3, I focus on addressing specific management questions regarding the Samburu elephant population. This research describes the results of the initial individual identification project conducted on the elephants using the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves study area, and presents the results of a detailed assessment of the demographic status of the population and threats these elephants face. This work lay the foundation for all future research conducted on this elephant population, In Chapters 4-7, I focus on the socio-ecology of elephants. Specifically, Chapter 4 investigates the factors driving demographic variability common to elephant populations are investigated by assessing the relationship between elephant reproductive activity and climatic driven ecological variability. Chapter 5 provides the first quantitative assessment of a multi-leveled social organization and discusses some of the factors contributing to the evolution of such complex social relationships. In Chapter 6, a novel quantitative technique is presented that provides the most likely dominance ranks for a group of individuals in which agonistic interactions are rare, as is common in elephant populations. This method is then applied to data collected on the Samburu elephants in Chapter 7 to derive the most likely rank order across the studied individuals. The factors influencing spatial use and segregation are then investigated, during which the influence of rank on movement and range use is explored.

Managing the Mount Kenya environment for people and elephants.

Author: Vanleeuwe, H

Awarding University: University of Kent, England

Level : PhD

Year: 2004

Holding Libraries: Index To Theses ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences/Environmental management/Mount Kenya/Loxodonta africana/Elephants/ ;

Abstract:

Kenya contains 26 natural habitat fragments and only 3% of forest cover across five main forest blocks. These blocks form the main water towers in semi-arid Kenya on which people and wildlife, far beyond the protected boundaries, depend. Mount Kenya (MK) is the largest forest block, and the protection of its water catchment function is of national importance (Chapter 2). The five forest blocks in Kenya hold almost one third of the total of 28,806 elephants in Kenya, of which MK was estimated as having the largest highland elephant population with 2,911 (?640) individuals in 2001 (Chapter 3). Elephant estimates in forest are usually derived from dung count surveys, which are prone to bias and accordingly most often classed as C or D, in the range from A (best) to E (worst), in the African Elephant Database (AED). The MK elephant estimate described in this thesis was one of only two dung count estimates that were classed as quality B in the AED of 2002 (Chapter 3). Explanatory models based on the dung count data were integrated with a geographic information system (GIS) to develop the most advanced predictive seasonal distribution maps currently available for elephants in a forested environment (Chapter 4). Furthermore, least-cost elephant travel routes and foraging paths were digitally traced over cost surface images, developed from data on preferred elephant habitats in different seasons, physical barriers such as extreme slopes, and land use barriers such as farmland (Chapter 5). This enabled the location of elephant movements in relation to plantations inside the MK forest, and investigation of the relationship between measured tree damage in plantations and elephant movements (Chapter 5). Two areas where subsequently identified where elephant routes strayed from the forest into adjacent farmland, which was where most elephant crop damage was reported by farmers to Kenya Wildlife Service stations and outposts (Chapter 6). Elephants and people trespassing on each other?s habitats is pronounced because MK is surrounded by a ring of small-scale farmers, totalling over 500,000 people living within 5,000m of the MK forest boundary on farms of 1.6ha on average (Chapter 6).

Human-elephant conflict in the Masai Mara dispersal areas of Transmara District [Kenya].

Author: Wasilwa, N S

Awarding University: University of Kent, England

Level : PhD

Year: 2003

Holding Libraries: ;

Subject Terms: Biological sciences/Transmara District/Masai Mara, Kenya/Loxodonta africana/Elephants/Conflicts/ ;

Abstract:

This thesis is based on a field study of human-elephant conflict (HEC) in the Masai Mara dispersal areas of Transmara District, Kenya, during 1999 and 2000. The district experiences high HEC because it supports a small resident elephant population and receives elephants that disperse up the escarpment seasonally from the Masai Mara. The study examines attitudes and perceptions of people towards elephants, land use changes, changes in elephant distributions and densities, types and patterns of HEC, and the success of different mitigation methods. Forestland was increasingly converted to cultivation, which in turn reduced elephant range and confined resident elephants to the remaining forest and to group ranches. Corridor usage by elephants increased with migration of wildebeests into the Masai Mara. Seasonal and spatial patterns in the occurrence of crop raiding incidents were determined by the maturity of maize, the area under farming, distance from the road and distance from the market centres. The success of crop protection measures depended on using a combination of traditional methods. Men who are drunk most risk being attacked by elephants. Elephants may also directly and/or indirectly interfere with learning in schools, but pupil performance was mainly determined by distance from school, absenteeism and tribe. The local community fosters negative attitudes towards elephants from which they currently receive no benefits. The future for elephants in Transmara District is bleak unless a benefit sharing, compensation and active problem elephant control programmes are implemented. Effective land use planning and participation of the community in conservation could help achieve these goals. The findings of this study have important implications for the future of elephant conservation in the face of competing human needs, both in Transmara District and elsewhere in Afric