Movement ecology of Asian elephants in peninsular Malaysia

Wadey, Jamie (2020) Movement ecology of Asian elephants in peninsular Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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As the largest terrestrial animal on earth, elephants perform important and irreplaceable roles within their environments. However, Asian elephants are facing extinction by the end of the century, with human-elephant conflict and poaching as the main drivers behind their rapid population decline. In Asia, conservation actions rarely take into account the movement ecology of elephants due to the lack of information available. Therefore, conservation actions could be improved by having a deeper understanding of Asian elephant movement ecology. In light of this knowledge gap, this thesis has increased our understanding of Asian elephant movement ecology by generating over 250,000 GPS locations from 51 individuals between 2011-2018, which is equivalent to over 500,000 hours of elephant monitoring in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, our baseline analysis of elephant movements in Peninsular Malaysia generated information about home range size (up to 600 km2), movement patterns, habitat selection (avoid steep slopes and preferred secondary forest and open habitats), and how human pressures are affecting elephant movements (decreases home range size). Additionally, a mechanistic modelling framework discovered roads caused strong and consistent barrier effects for elephants, increased mortality, and significantly reduced the permeability (on average by 79.5%) between forest patches. Lastly, post-monitoring of translocated elephants revealed critical patterns in response to translocation. Translocated elephants varied in their responses, with a high proportion of elephants (56%) returning to the original human-conflict area (up to 80 km) or left the protected area, which resulted in translocated movements not settling in the first year. This thesis will contribute to a better understanding of the movement ecology of elephants and provide relevant research for the conservation of the species and their habitats.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa
Leimgruber, Peter
Keywords: GPS telemetry, Elephas maximus, movement ecology, roads, translocation, habitat selection, home range, human pressure, movement patterns, Peninsular Malaysia
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history. Biology
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Science and Engineering — Science > School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences
Item ID: 60708
Depositing User: Wadey, Jamie
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2020 13:30
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2020 13:45

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