The movement of elephants through wildlife corridors is directly influenced by differing types of human pressures and development, new research by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) and Radboud University shows. Their study, published today in Frontiers in Conservation, may be the first that takes an in-depth look at how varying land use affects elephants and their usage of wildlife corridors.
From 2012 to 2019, the researchers monitored elephants’ movements through six wildlife corridors using motion-detected camera traps in two different human-dominated landscapes: the townships of Kasane, Botswana and Kazungula, Zambia; and the farming villages of the Chobe Enclave of Botswana, both situated in the Chobe District.
The analysis implies that various land use seemingly affects when elephants use wildlife corridors on an hourly basis. Elephants in agricultural areas largely moved through the corridors predominantly nocturnally, when humans are less active, when compared to urban corridors, where humans and elephants actively mostly overlap.
“This is actually the first study of the type that takes an in-depth look at comparing how varying land use affects elephant movements and their usage of wildlife corridors,” states lead author Tempe Adams of EWB. Increasing human development and changes in land use restrict wildlife’s usage of resources. In addition, it increases competition and conflict between animals and folks. This is among the largest conservation challenges facing the continuing future of elephants in both Africa and Asia. The designation and maintenance of wildlife corridors is really a fundamental wildlife management tool to permit both development and conservation to keep.
“This is a great possibility to link our focus on examining human pressures on biodiversity at Radboud University with the conservation work being done by Elephants Without Borders,” says Marlee Stevens, assistant professor at the Department of Environmental Science of Radboud University and something of the authors of the paper. “Our results show that elephants alter their behavior in human-modified landscapes, but their response varies according to the human disturbance.”
The analysis highlights the necessity to consider wildlife daily activity patterns around cities, towns, and farming areas, for conservation and environmental management planning. “What’s truly remarkable is that people found elephants usually do not perceive all human development exactly the same way, however they are adjusting their behaviors to adjust to the variations and human pressure,” says Adams. “In addition, it further highlights the necessity for transparent documentation of human pressure within and around protected wildlife areas, that is critical to aid in the conservation of species.”
More info: Who’s adjusting to whom? Differences in elephant diel activity in wildlife corridors across different humanmodified landscapes, Frontiers in Conservation Science (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fcosc.2022.872472
Citation: City life or farm life? When elephants adjust to different human development (2022, July 28) retrieved 28 July 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-city-life-farm-elephants-human.html
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