Modeling Habitat Selection for Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium Simum Simum) in Matopos National Park
In this study we modeled wet and dry season habitat selection of the Southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium Simum Simum) in Matopos National Park. We tested whether wet and dry season habitat selection was influenced by factors such as sex. We also tested whether home range size significantly differed between male and female rhinos. Habitat selection analysis was based on road survey data collected for the period 2009-2015. We determined rhino habitats using NDVI thresholded maps. Landsat TM images which corresponded temporally with the data were used to determine the habitats found in Matopos National park using a quantitative approach of thresholding NDVI to classify the landcover types . To model habitat selection, proportion of use and availability were calculated and the selection ratio which is given by use/availability was calculated. In the models, selection ratio was the dependent variable while sex and type of landcover were the independent variables. Of the models generated models generated to model habitat selection, the one with the lowest value for the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) was used as it fit our data better. We observed that on average, females had higher home ranges than males for both seasons and that home range sizes were larger in the dry season than in the wet season for both males and females. Our model for the wet season suggested the areas classified as bare or rock were selected while grassland was neither selected nor avoided and the other habitats were avoided. The dry season model shows how the grassland and moderate woodland habitats were used as much as they were available while the other habitat types were avoided. We also conclude that the white rhinos prefer habitats that encompass short grasses which are available even in bare areas during the wet season and during the dry season, moderate woodland is utilized in addition to the grassland. We also conclude that our predictor variable, sex, was not really a significant factor in explaining the seasonal variation of white rhino habitat selection at Matopos National Park.
Additional Citation InformationChirenje, K. (2016). Master of Science Degree in Applied Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing.Harare:University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe