Factors affecting lion (Panthera Leo) spatial occurrence in the Zambezi region, Namibia

Moeller, Michelle-Louise (2014-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Lion populations globally are on the decrease and their habitats are fragmenting. Despite their importance in the Zambezi Region in Namibia, very little research has yet been undertaken to understand their occurrence in this area. One of the primary motivations behind this study was the Kavango Zambezi Trans Frontier Conservation Area’s (KAZA TFCA) need to identify trans-boundary movement of carnivores. The collaborative approach with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia facilitated the collaring of lions in three National Parks. A number of species were collared and this study focuses on the occurrence of lions in the Zambezi Region. From the lion home range analysis we could see that the home-range sizes of the collared lions varied greatly across the study area. The difference in home range size is largely due to human pressure surrounding the protected areas. Geographically weighted regression assisted in understanding which were the main drivers of lion occurrence, but further investigation was needed using the Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) model for presence-only data. The factors that were investigated as possibly affecting the occurrence of lions included the following: rivers, land cover, land use, elevation and human activity. After pursuing various research models and manipulating data among all these factors, no single factor or combination of factors was found to be reliable predictors on lion occurrence in the study area. As is discussed in recommendations for further research in Chapter 6, it became clear that quantitative data cannot be used in isolation to predict where lions may occur.

AFRIKKANSE OPSOMMING: Leeu-bevolkings is wêreldwyd aan die afneem en hulle habitatte fragmenteer al hoe meer. Ten spyte van hulle intrinsieke belang vir die Zambezi streek in Namibië is daar ‘n gebrek aan navorsing om die voorkome van leeus in hierdie streek te verstaan. ‘n Belangrike motivering vir hierdie studie was die vereiste van die “Kavango Zambezi Trans Frontier Conservation Area” (KAZA TFCA) om grensoorstekende bewegings te verstaan, in onder andere karnivore. In samewerking met KAZA TFCA is GPS-halsbande aangebring aan leeus in drie wildsparke, asook aan individue van ander spesies; hierdie studie fokus spesifiek op leeus in die Zambezi streek. Analise van die leeus se loopgebied toon breë variasies oor die studiegebied, vir die individue met halsbande, hoofsaaklik te wyte aan menslike druk vanuit omliggende nedersettings. Hierdie studie gebruik geografies geweegde regressie om die belangrikste faktore in die teenwoordigheid van leeus te verstaan, terwyl Maximale Entropie modelle (MaxEnt) vir slegs teenwoordigheid data in verdere ondersoeke ingespan is. Die volgende faktore is ondersoek ten opsigte van hulle moontlike bydrae tot die voorkome van leeus: riviere, land bedek, grondgebruik, hoogte en menslike aktiwiteite. Verskeie statistiese navorsingsmodelle is ondersoek, met inagneming van data vir al die faktore, maar geen betroubare aanwyser of aanwysers vir leeu-teenwoordigheid is gevind nie. Dit is duidelik dat bloot kwantitatiewe data ontoereikend is om leeuteenwoordigheid te voorspel, soos uiteengesit in hoofstuk 6.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95930
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