Bérubé2021

Reference

Bérubé, A.-J. (2021) La sélection d'habitat dépendante de la densité varie entre les mâles et les femelles chez l’éléphant d’Afrique (Loxodonta africana). Master's thesis, Université Laval. (URL )

Abstract

The increase in anthropogenic activities has negative effects on the conservation of large mammals and their environment in protected areas, and the management of large herbivores in small reserves is particularly challenging. Indeed, the reduction of humananimal conflicts in reserves often generally results in the increase of large herbivore populations, with significant impacts on habitat quality and those impacts are generally exacerbated in small and confined reserves. Habitat selection is recognized as a complex process involving a response to multiple environmental features that can vary between sexes and with population density. Yet there is still limited empirical evidence of males and females displaying different patterns of density-dependent habitat selection. My project demonstrates that the spatial response of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) to human-related habitat features varied with population size, and that density-dependent adjustments differed between sexes and seasons. Habitat selection analysis was based on an 11-year monitoring of GPS-collared elephants in Ithala Game reserve, South Africa. Globally, Ithala elephants selected areas with abundant woody vegetation and close to water and tended to avoid areas with steep slopes. Our analyses also revealed that, without discriminating between sexes and accounting for conspecific density, the conclusion would have been simply that elephants typically select human-related habitat features. We show, however, that males had a stronger selection for both infrastructures and areas close to roads and fences compared to females which avoided infrastructures all year long and areas close to fences in the wet season. With an increase in population density, males also increased more strongly than females their selection of these three human-related habitat features. My study demonstrates that females and males differ in their habitat selection, a trend that could be exacerbate by an increase in population density. Therefore, considering variations in habitat selection between sexes and with conspecific density can help prevent faulty conclusions on the interaction between an animal and its environment, and help develop more effective management tools, for example relocation of certain males whose habitat selection might increase human-wildlife conflicts.

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@MASTERSTHESIS { Bérubé2021,
    TITLE = { La sélection d'habitat dépendante de la densité varie entre les mâles et les femelles chez l’éléphant d’Afrique (Loxodonta africana) },
    AUTHOR = { Bérubé, A.-J. },
    SCHOOL = { Université Laval },
    YEAR = { 2021 },
    NOTE = { CEFTMS, Boudreau, S. and Fortin, D. },
    ABSTRACT = { The increase in anthropogenic activities has negative effects on the conservation of large mammals and their environment in protected areas, and the management of large herbivores in small reserves is particularly challenging. Indeed, the reduction of humananimal conflicts in reserves often generally results in the increase of large herbivore populations, with significant impacts on habitat quality and those impacts are generally exacerbated in small and confined reserves. Habitat selection is recognized as a complex process involving a response to multiple environmental features that can vary between sexes and with population density. Yet there is still limited empirical evidence of males and females displaying different patterns of density-dependent habitat selection. My project demonstrates that the spatial response of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) to human-related habitat features varied with population size, and that density-dependent adjustments differed between sexes and seasons. Habitat selection analysis was based on an 11-year monitoring of GPS-collared elephants in Ithala Game reserve, South Africa. Globally, Ithala elephants selected areas with abundant woody vegetation and close to water and tended to avoid areas with steep slopes. Our analyses also revealed that, without discriminating between sexes and accounting for conspecific density, the conclusion would have been simply that elephants typically select human-related habitat features. We show, however, that males had a stronger selection for both infrastructures and areas close to roads and fences compared to females which avoided infrastructures all year long and areas close to fences in the wet season. With an increase in population density, males also increased more strongly than females their selection of these three human-related habitat features. My study demonstrates that females and males differ in their habitat selection, a trend that could be exacerbate by an increase in population density. Therefore, considering variations in habitat selection between sexes and with conspecific density can help prevent faulty conclusions on the interaction between an animal and its environment, and help develop more effective management tools, for example relocation of certain males whose habitat selection might increase human-wildlife conflicts. },
    URL = { https://corpus.ulaval.ca/jspui/handle/20.500.11794/67948 },
    TIMESTAMP = { 2021-02-16 },
}

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