Spatial distribution of elephants (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) in Hwange Mining Concession area
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In this study we tested whether and how environmental factors such as distance from water points inside mine dumps, distance from water points outside mine dumps, distance away from settlements, distance away from agricultural fields, distance from mine dumps and NDVI (vegetation cover) significantly predict the spatial distribution of elephants in the mining area of Hwange, Zimbabwe. To achieve this, we digitized different land cover strata in the study area which included mine dumps, agricultural fields, settlements and water points from satellite remotely sensed data made available in Google Earth. Elephant data was collected as presence and absence based on presence indicators such as dung piles. Logistic regression was used to relate elephant data and environmental variables. Results show that distance away from mine dumps, distance away from settlements, distance away from water points outside mine dumps and NDVI are significantly (p<0.05) related with elephant distribution. Distance away from water points inside the mine dumps and distance from agricultural fields are however not significantly (p>0.05) related with elephant presence. The results imply that if elephants are to exist sustainably in areas dominated by mining activities, wildlife conservation strategies should be adopted. The conservation strategies should involve reclamation of the mine dumps through reforestation since elephants rely on forests for food and habitat.
Subjectspatial distribution of elephants
land cover strata