Estimation of potential for competition between wildlife and livestock within sanctuaries of the Amboseli Ecosystem, Kenya and their effectiveness as corridors between national parks
Preston, Jessica Laine
Area of Honors:
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Bachelor of Science
Duane R Diefenbach, Thesis Supervisor Margaret C Brittingham, Honors Advisor Troy Ott, Faculty Reader
Kenya Competition Livestock wildlife management human-wildlife conflict
The Amboseli ecosystem, Kenya is home to several wildlife sanctuaries that serve as crucial corridors for traveling wildlife as well as safe places to live and reproduce. Health assessments and maintenance for these micromanaged areas is vital for preservation of the ecosystem. I assessed one aspect of viability of five wildlife sanctuaries, Osupuko, Kilitome, Kimana, Elerai-Rupet and Motikanju, within this ecosystem by examining habitat use, spatial and niche overlap and density ratios, between livestock and wildlife. I used counts of large mammal species in the early wet season 2011 to evaluate potential for competition between livestock and wildlife in each sanctuary. This would allow for an estimation of the effectiveness of each sanctuary at providing suitable wildlife habitat and serving as a connection between government-protected national parks. Also, I evaluated the effect of detection probability on inferences made from my analysis of habitat use. I found that wildlife to livestock abundance ratios increased with increasing distance of sanctuaries from national parks. I also found that there was little evidence for spatial and niche overlap in each sanctuary between livestock and wildlife. However, Ivlev's index showed that some habitats were selected by both wildlife and livestock species. Once detection probability was factored into Ivelv's index, I found that detection probability can be a confounding factor and should be considered for all studies evaluating animal use and habitat selection. Evaluations such as this can lead sanctuary managers to the development of management plans that will improve the effectiveness of sanctuaries as connections between national parks.