Spatial-Temporal pattern of elephant mortality in Narok County, Kenya
Authors: Elizabeth Wakoli
This study aimed at determining the spatial temporal patterns of elephant mortality in Narok County using data from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and World Wide Fund for Nature- Human-elephant Conflict (WWF-HEC) project compiled over the last 11 years. Field monitoring for one year was also carried out and any dead elephant was identified and details recorded to determine causes of mortality and distribution. Data were entered in an Excel spreadsheet and then converted into dBASE IV format and imported to ArcGIS to create a point shape file of elephant mortality and associated attribute data. Graphs and map were generated linking mortality with other aspects. Data obtained using qualitative research method was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Frequencies obtained were calculated, and where appropriate, a chi-square test was used. A 0.05 level of significance was used to determine existing relationships between data categories. Results showed that most elephant mortality occurred outside the protected area (MMNR) and were due to trophy poaching (61.5%, n=13) which occurred during long rainy seasons and in dense bush lands. There was a significant difference in mortality cases during the short rain season (?2=4.500, df=1, p=0.034). Kernel density analysis depicted Olesentu and Sitoka in TM as hotspot area for elephant mortality due to trophy poaching. Elephant mortality due to conflicts occurred mostly on agricultural land with 10 (50%) cases. From the results, it was evident that elephant the distribution and pattern of elephant mortality is determined by several factors among them, Rainfall, vegetation cover, proximity to water source, roads and human settlement.