Elephant distribution is largely influenced by proximity to water: Ngene et el., 2009

June 8, 2009

Journal: African Journal of Ecology
Location: Marsabit Protected Area, Kenya

The distribution of 9 satellite-collared elephants (4 females, 5 bulls) around a volcanic shield with a forestsavanna habitat mosaic in Marsabit National Park and Reserve, Kenya, was influenced most heavily by proximity to drinking water (24% – 13% for permanent water bodies and 11% for seasonal rivers). Elevation contributed 15% to the variation in distribution, but this is probably because vegetation structure is very dependent on elevation – shrubland contributed 10%, and forest 9%, with elephants preferring high forested elevations in the dry season and low shrubland in the wet season. Human proximity was also significant: distance from human settlements contributed 8% and distance from minor roads 7%. 27% of the variation was not significantly correlated to anything in particular.

Ngene SM, Skidmore AK, Van Gils H, Douglas-Hamilton I, Omondi P, 2009. “Elephant distribution around a volcanic shield dominated by a mosaic of forest and savanna (Marsabit, Kenya)” African Journal of Ecology 47(2): 234-245, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2008.01018.x

Affiliations: Kenya Wildlife Service; International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC); Save the Elephant Trust.

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