Landscape-level changes to large mammal space use in response to a pastoralist incursion
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Pilfold, Nicholas W.
Moll, Remington J.
Glikman, Jenny A.
Montgomery, Robert A.
Journal titleEcological Indicators
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractPastoralists and their livestock have long competed with wildlife over access to grazing on shared rangelands. In the dynamic 21st century however, the configuration and quality of these rangelands is changing rapidly. Climate change processes, human range expansion, and the fragmentation and degradation of rangeland habitat have increased competition between pastoralist livestock and wildlife. Interactions of this type are particularly apparent in East Africa, and perhaps most obvious in northern Kenya. In 2017, following months of intense drought, a pastoralist incursion of a protected area (Loisaba Conservancy) occurred in Laikipia County, Kenya. An estimated 40,000 livestock were herded onto the conservancy by armed pastoralists where the cattle were grazed for approximately three months. Using 53 camera trap sites across the 226 km2 conservancy, we quantified spatial patterns in site visitation rates (via spatially-explicit, temporally-dynamic Bayesian models) for seven species of large mammalian herbivores in the three-month period directly before, during, and after the incursion. We detected significant changes in space use of all large mammalian herbivores during the incursion. Furthermore, these patterns did not return to their pre-incursion state in the three-month period after the pastoralists and their livestock left the conservancy. Thus, in addition to reduced site vitiation rates for these large mammalian herbivores, we also detected considerable displacement in response to the livestock incursion. Our results illustrate that pastoralist incursions can cause large-scale disruptions of wildlife space use, supporting the notion that livestock can competitively exclude large mammalian herbivores from grazing access. We discuss the implications of this research for applied management decisions designed to alleviate competition among wildlife and pastoralist livestock for the benefit of wildlife conservation and pastoralist well-being.
DescriptionPastoralists and their livestock regularly compete with wildlife for resources access in many places across the world. This was evident in northern Kenya in 2017, when around 40,000 livestock were illegally grazed on Loisaba Conservancy over a 3 month period. Using camera trap data, we looked at the spatial distribution of wildlife before, during and after these incursions. Our analysis determined that the space use of seven large mammals were significantly altered due the presence of high numbers of livestock. This analysis highlights the importance and understanding this multi-use landscape and designing interventions to conserve wildlife while preserving pastoralist livelihoods. This study was conducted as part of Symon Masiaine’s (Twiga Walinzi Conservation Coordinator) MSc thesis at Michigan State University.
Rights2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/