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Habitats & Wildlife Papers 2

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(ECP and CTSP grantees, reports, and other sites of interest for conservation geograpy, mapping and GIS. Grantees are coded by program and year of grant at the end of their name/state, i.e. e91 means ECP grant in 1991. c=cstp, cm=ctsp-mac, cs=ctsp-software)


Using GIS to Resolve Human-Elephant Conflict in Kenya . (1997 ESRI paper: John Waithaka Kenya Wildlife Service PO Box 40421 Nairobi, KENYA Telephone: 254-2-506169 Fax: 254-2-505866 E-mail: kenyawildlif@mail.att.net, Lucy Chege ) . Conflict between people and elephants in Kenya exists in most of the elephant range, particularly where cropland borders forested national parks. This conflict manifests itself in a number of ways. Direct costs to humans include crop depredation and injury and killing of humans and livestock. Material losses cause unbearable financial suffering. In high-conflict areas, farmers have abandoned good cropland because of the sheer futility of trying to raise a crop to maturity in the presence of elephants. As a result, farmers have to rely on relief food. Many people have been trampled by elephants on their way home from social gatherings and some schools start late and end early to reduce chances of children being attacked by elephants. Data available from Kenya Wildlife Service shows that elephants kill more people per year than all the other wildlife species put together. Their huge size, tremendous strength, intelligence, great feeding capacity, and loss of fear of people are a hindrance while undertaking control measures. The intervention management for conflict mitigation includes shooting problem elephants, enlisting community support through formation of community wildlife associations in areas outside parks, development of social and income generating projects, establishing community wildlife sanctuaries, education programs, establishing corridors to other dispersal areas creating psychological and physical barriers, relocations, and monitoring elephant movement and distribution patterns, among others. Elephants also have a very strong impact on biodiversity in Kenya which has far reaching consequences both on ecosystem functions and dynamics and on landuse and other sectors of the economy. Many elephants in Kenya are confined in relatively small areas after losing their capacity to migrate due to the blockage of their migratory routes or fragmentation of their habitats. Elephants in these areas occur in very high densities and have converted forests into grasslands. Considerable biodiversity has been lost in this way and increasingly more is at great risk. Some of the highly impacted areas harbor nearly all of 265 species endemic to Kenya and are the most important water catchment areas for the republic. Various studies show a very close link between species extinction and high elephant densities. The only possible solutions to this problem are either to increase space for elephants or reduce their densities through some form of management. We will use GIS to map out elephant numbers and their distribution, establish the interaction of elephants with people and with the environment, identify and quantify various forms of conflict, and then assess the effectiveness of different intervention methods used thus far to address these conflicts. Our goal is to design criteria for measuring the success and effectiveness of the various intervention methods and develop a model that can be used to make efficient management decisions in the various game parks and reserves in Kenya. A specific game park with a good historical database has been selected for the pilot project.

Using GIS to Establish Large Mammal Densities, Biomass, and Distribution Patterns in the Amboseli Ecosystem and Their Relationship with Rainfall and Other Water Resources . (1997 ESRI paper: David Western Kenya Wildlife Service PO Box 40241 Nairobi, KENYA, Telephone: 254-2-501763 Fax: 254-2-505866 E-mail: KENYAWILDLIF@mail.att.net , Lucy Chege ) . Amboseli refers to a Pleistocene lake basin lying on the foot of Kilimanjaro along the Kenya-Tanzania border. The Amboseli ecosystem covering nearly 3,000 km is in a semi-arid savannah environment in which water availability is highly seasonal, receiving the short rains in November and December and long rains from March to May. This has an important bearing on the structure and efficiency of large mammal communities. Wildlife in this area has been largely unaffected by human pressures and thus provides an opportunity to examine and explain natural seasonal cycles in movement, habitat selectivity, and herd dynamics. Data collected from 1975 to present shows that large mammals in this area exhibit seasonal movements by dispersing in the wet season and concentrating in the Amboseli basin during the dry season. This can be related to the seasonality of rainfall and water availability. These movement patterns largely occur with the water dependent species but do not prevail in the water independent species. There are three widely recognized categories of large mammal communities based on the patterns of seasonal movements and these are 1) migratory, 2) dispersal (wet season dispersal/dry season concentration), and 3) resident. We will use these broad categories with reference to individual species where necessary. It is also important to note that this area is largely populated by traditional subsistence pastoralists who keep large livestock herds. The pastoral Maasai of Amboseli subsist almost entirely (until recently) on the products of their domestic stock, mainly cattle with some sheep, goats, and donkeys. Their nomadic movement is governed largely by efforts to expose their stock to the best available pastures but they are severely constrained by the limited distribution of water in the dry season. The Maasai locate their settlements at an average of about 8 km from water. Cattle are taken to water on alternate days. This undoubtedly provides more competition to the wildlife for the limited water sources. The area receives less than 350 mm annually and the vegetation is typically acacia and commiphora scattered woodland and bushland. Permanent water is restricted to the vicinity of the dried out Pleistocene lake bed of the Amboseli basin but elsewhere water is absent in the dry season except for a number of boreholes that have provided an important source to livestock, the supplies of which are not usually available to wildlife. This seasonal movement of wildlife provides challenges for its conservation as wildlife areas become economically more valuable and additional livestock production threatens to sever the seasonal migrations. Thus, our aim is to use GIS to understand these seasonal movements in relation to rainfall and other water resources, map out the dispersal area, and identify the habitat selectivity patterns and the dynamics of these migrating herds and their interaction as they disperse with the pastoralist communities who own land and keep livestock in the dispersal paths. Management implications and recommendations will be discussed. Historical data is available on large mammal and livestock densities and the location of the Maasai settlements for the last twenty years.

Using GPS and GIS To Manage Critical Habitat of the Sonoran Desert Tortoise at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument . (1997 ESRI paper: Nancy Favour National Park Service Rural Route 1 Box 100 Ajo, AZ 85321, Telephone: 520-387-7661 Fax: 520-387-7661 E-mail: nancy_favour@acmail.itd.nps.gov , Thomas Potter, Betsy Wirt ) . GIS specialists at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument have used general habitat characteristics of the Sonoran desert tortoise to develop a GIS model of potential tortoise habitat within the monument. Working with inventory and monitoring field data, the potential habitat model can be refined. ArcView applications based on the data can give resources managers access to information that will help protect tortoise habitat. Methodology: To build a model of potential tortoise habitat, slope, elevation, vegetation, and land form information were combined. To refine this model, field biologists conducting inventory and monitoring of the Sonoran desert tortoise in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument were equipped with Trimble Geoexplorer GPS units to collect relatively accurate locations for field observations. Once the field data was transferred to an ArcInfo format, the data was available for model improvement, query, analysis, map production, archiving, and duplication. Software: Trimble's Pfinder was used to process all GPS data. Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet was used to merge field attributes with GPS data. ArcInfo and ArcView were used to produce a habitat model, conduct analysis, and produce maps.


All text by the respective organizations, January 2, 1997

Compilation & web design: Charles Convis, ESRI Conservation Program, April 2, 1996

 

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