Understanding the spatial distribution of Africana: A case study of Manapools, Zimbabwe.

Author: Nleya, Velani

This thesis explores the utility of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing in understanding the spatial distribution of elephants in Manapools National Park. Understanding what drives an animal to disperse to a specific location can provide insight into which areas are important for the population and assist conservation efforts. Elephant presence data used to map elephants was collected from aerial survey censuses. In this study distance from roads, boundaries, rivers and vegetation cover were identified and determined in a GIS environment and related to elephant presence. Binary logistic regression was used to test the relationship of the hypothesized environmental vaiiables that are^ssimed to^J^ of elephants and presence of elephants in the study area. Results showed that there is a significant relationship (P<0.05) between elephant presence and vegetation cover, as well as roads. It was also shown that there is no significant relationship (P>0.05) between the presence of elephants and rivers as well as boundaries. Based on these results we conclude that the spatial distribution of elephants can be explained by certain environmental variables in an area. These are geographic and climatic conditions, indigenous knowledge and human activities such as poaching.