Wildlife utilization of urban wildlife corridors in Kasane, Botswana: Can urban corridors be a successful wildlife management tool?
Dr Tempe Adams1,3, Dr Steve McLeod2, Dr Keith Leggett3
1Elephants Without Borders, Kasane, Botswana, 2Department of Primary Industries, Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Orange Agricultural Institute, Orange, Australia, 3Fowlers Gap Research Station, Centre of Ecosystem Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Wildlife corridors can be successful conservation tools, connecting protected areas and reducing the impact of habitat fragmentation on mobile species. Urban wildlife corridors have been proposed as a potential mitigation tool to facilitate the passage of elephants through towns. However, because such corridors are typically narrow and close to human development, wildlife may be less likely to use them. We used remote-sensor camera traps and a multiple model approach to monitor the presence of different wildlife in the urban corridors of Kasane, Botswana. The corridors were categorized in three types of human-dominated land-use designations with varying levels of human activity: agricultural, industrial and open space recreational land. We found high species diversity and utilization the of corridors within all three land-use designations. We identified, using a model selection approach, that season, time of day were important factors in determining the presence of elephants in the corridors. Our results indicate that urban wildlife corridors are useful for facilitating wildlife movement through urban areas. We also found that the wildlife showed adaptation behavior to the human activity in the area and choose to use the corridor when humans were least active.
Dr Tempe Adams is the lead researcher on Elephants Without Borders a Botswana based NGO in Botswana on the Human-Wildlife coexistence project. She completed her PhD studies with the University on New South Wales and Elephants Without Border 2016, entitled “Can humans and elephants coexist in Botswana?”, which formed the foundation of the current coexistence project. Dr Adams works on applying conservation scientific principles to enable human-wildlife coexistence by incorporating species spatial movements, social science and animal behavior scientific disciplines. The research focuses on the utilization of urban and agricultural corridors by wildlife, through time. As well and farmer-based participation and trialing of both traditional and novel mitigation strategies in reducing human-wildlife conflict.