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Improving human-wildlife co-existence: Landscape level strategies to enhance wildlife movement in Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem, Kenya

  • Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem is a unique landscape in Kenya’s semi-arid rangelands to the border of Tanzania. It is characterized by high abundances of wildlife which frequently disperses between three National Parks, namely Amboseli, Tsavo West and Chyulu Hills. Due to an increased population and a land-use change from prior nomadic pastoralism to sedentary farming activities, the land became highly fragmented and transformed into a human-dominated area. Increasingly wildlife migration routes are becoming blocked, leading to isolation of the National Parks and multiplied human-wildlife conflicts. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is sadly famous as the most common conflict animal causing damage to properties, cropland and injuring or killing livestock and, in the worst case, people. However, elephants are at the same time a flagship species and represent the backbone for tourism activities around Amboseli. Therefore, the elephant is both a very valuable and problematic asset in the area. Unfortunately, wildlife conservation practices over the last decades, favoring animals over humans, have led to a negative perception of wildlife among the population in the ecosystem which challenges appropriate conservation mechanisms. To maintain the tourism attraction of viewing elephants and to minimise the conflicts between local communities and animals, migration routes should remain open. The concept of landscape connectivity ensures biodiversity conservation, particularly for far-distance migration animals such as elephants. The elephant was therefore chosen as a keystone species in this study on which the analysis is based. Using a least-cost path analysis (LCP) in ArcGIS, “cheapest” travel routes of Loxodonta africana between the three National Parks were identified. Factors included were selected and weighted by information gathered in expert interviews. Satellite imagery were classified using ESA SNAP toolbox to obtain vegetation covers and waterbodies for two different seasons (dry and wet), aiming to illustrate the temporal variability of potential connectivity paths. Additionally, key informant interviews and interviews of Group Ranch members around Amboseli National Park were conducted to gather information regarding the current state of management in the ecosystem and perceptions about wildlife management. A subsequent SWOT Analysis on three optimum routes obtained through LCP, takes the social-political factors and information obtained into account to discuss the different options for their conflict solving potential. On the one hand, recommendations resulting from this study identify possible elephant migration routes that should be maintained by using a participatory conservation approach to secure landscape connectivity in long-term. On the other hand, management recommendations include a design for improved relationships between Group Ranch members and the responsible governmental institutions by equally distributing benefits, implementing financial benefits and establishing a functioning and adequate compensation scheme. By ensuring peoples’ active participation in conservation and wildlife management, a more positive attitude towards wildlife might be induced, which will positively influence the wildlife conflict in long run.

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Author:Marit Schnepf
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Publishing Institution:Hochschulbibliothek der Technischen Hochschule Köln
Granting Institution:Technische Hochschule Köln
Date of Publication (online):2018/01/30
Institutes:Fakultät für Raumentwicklung und Infrastruktursysteme (F12) / Fakultät 12 / Institut für Technologie und Ressourcenmanagement in den Tropen und Subtropen
Dewey Decimal Classification:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
Open Access:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen