Press Release:  City life or farm life? When elephants adapt to different human development

Jul 28, 2022 | Press Releases

By Tempe Adams – Elephants Without Borders

 Kasane, Botswana– New research led by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) has discovered that elephant movement through wildlife corridors is directly impacted by differing forms of human pressures and development. From 2012 to 2019, EWB monitored elephants’ movements through six wildlife corridors with the use of motion-detected camera traps in two different human-dominated landscapes: the townships of Kasane and Kazungula, and the farming villages of the Chobe Enclave, both located in the Chobe District 

The study, published today in Frontiers in Conservation, provides new information revealing that various land-use seemingly affects when elephants use wildlife corridors on an hourly basis. Elephants in agricultural areas largely moved through the corridors predominately nocturnaly, when humans are less active, compared to the urban corridors, where humans and elephants actively largely overlap. 

Lead author, Dr. Tempe Adams states, “This is the first study of this type that takes an in-depth look at comparing how varying land-use effect elephant movements and their use of wildlife corridors.” Increasing human development and changes in land-use restrict wildlife’s access to resources, increases competition and conflict between animals and people. This is one of the largest conservation challenges facing the future of elephants in both Africa and Asia. The designation and maintenance of wildlife corridors is a fundamental wildlife management tool to allow both development and conservation to continue. 

The study highlights the need to consider wildlife daily activity patterns in and around cities, towns, and farming areas, for conservation and environmental management planning. “What is truly remarkable is that we found elephants do not perceive all human development the same way, but they are adjusting their behaviours to adapt to the variations and human pressure,” says Adams. 

This research gives further evidence highlighting the need for transparent documentation of human pressure within and around protected wildlife areas is now more critical than ever to assist in the conservation of species. 

 Contact: Dr Tempe Adams 

+267 74143315, tadams@elephantswithoutborders.org 

Elephants Without Borders 

The article: Adams T.S.F., Leggett K.E.A, Chase, M.J. & Tucker M. (2022). Who is adjusting to whom? Differences in elephant diel activity in wildlife corridors across different human-modified landscapes in Frontiers in Conservation. DOI:10.3389/fcosc.2022.872472. Available for download: 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2022.872472

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