Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing large African herbivore movements
Venter, Jan A.
Prins, Herbert H.T.
de Boer, Willem F.
Understanding environmental as well as anthropogenic factors that influence large herbivore ecological patterns and processes should underpin their conservation and management. We assessed the influence of intrinsic, extrinsic environmental and extrinsic anthropogenic factors on movement behaviour of eight African large herbivore species. A cumulative odds ordinal logistic regression was used to determine the effect of season, feeding niche, number of vegetation types, home range size, and fences on the number of exponential distributions observed. When animals faced the trade-off between forage quality and quantity during the dry season, they moved further between forage areas and water sources in order to get to better forage, which added to the number of movement scales observed. Elephants had a lower number of movement scales, compared to all the other feeding types, which could be attributed to them being able to switch between browse and graze. The number of movement scales increased in more heterogeneous areas. Animals with larger home ranges, which are also larger species, and animals more restricted by fences, had fewer movement scales. In order for managers to effectively manage protected areas and associated biodiversity they need take cognisance of the different scales animals operate under, and the different factors that may be important for different species.