Impact of Climate Change and Variability on Distribution of Elephants at Serengeti National Park (SNP), Tanzania (1986-2014)

Lydia H. Maliti, John Erasto Sanare, Nassania Yesaya, Eltaib Ganawa, Mozamil Osamn Saeed

Abstract


This study assesses the impacts of climate change and variability on the population distribution of elephants at the Serengeti National Park (SNP). Specifically, the objectives of the study were to: i. Identify major zones affected by climate change and variability in the Serengeti National Park, ii. Determine the distribution pattern of elephants at different selected intervals in the Serengeti National Park, iii. Establish the relationship between the annual variation in rainfall and temperature with the distribution pattern of elephants in the Serengeti National Park. Information was obtained by using focus group discussion, key informant interview, participant observations PRA and structured household questionnaire covering 104 to be sampled respondents. Qualitative information was analyzed using content analysis which is a set of methods for analyzing the symbolic content of any communication. Quantitative data from household surveys were processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Results indicated that 70% of respondents mentioned drought as an indicator of climate change. Other indicators mentioned were seasonal variation in rainfall, increasing air temperature, sunshine intensity and floods. The consequences of climate change include floods, droughts, extreme weather, and declining agricultural production which affects everyone as the agriculture is the main occupation of the people in developing countries. The findings showed that 78% of the people have seen elephants in their farm area especially during dry season as they need water to drink and cool their massive bodies and they show a preference for riverine habitats because of the availability of abundant and high quality forage. The findings reveal that, 98% of the respondents have indicated an increase in elephant invasion in the neighborhoods of villages near the SNP. As the study has revealed a positive relationship between change in climate and movement of elephants into adjacent areas, it is recommended that the local communities should be educated about climate change to improve adaptation to live. Activities being carried out with villagers adjacent to protected areas are compatible with conservation and one should also look into reviewing or maintaining the existing wildlife corridors in order to reduce human wildlife conflicts.

Keywords


African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana); Climate variability;Ecosystem;Serengeti National Park-Tanzania

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/sgj.v1i1.1456

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