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Home on the Range: Factors Explaining Partial Migration of African Buffalo in a Tropical Environment

Naidoo, Robin and Du Preez, Pierre and Stuart-Hill, Greg and Jago, Mark and Wegmann, Martin (2012) Home on the Range: Factors Explaining Partial Migration of African Buffalo in a Tropical Environment. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. 1-11. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036527.

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Abstract

Partial migration (when only some individuals in a population undertake seasonal migrations) is common in many species and geographical contexts. Despite the development of modern statistical methods for analyzing partial migration, there have been no studies on what influences partial migration in tropical environments. We present research on factors affecting partial migration in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in northeastern Namibia. Our dataset is derived from 32 satellite tracking collars, spans 4 years and contains over 35,000 locations. We used remotely sensed data to quantify various factors that buffalo experience in the dry season when making decisions on whether and how far to migrate, including potential man-made and natural barriers, as well as spatial and temporal heterogeneity in environmental conditions. Using an information-theoretic, non-linear regression approach, our analyses showed that buffalo in this area can be divided into 4 migratory classes: migrants, non-migrants, dispersers, and a new class that we call “expanders”. Multimodel inference from least-squares regressions of wet season movements showed that environmental conditions (rainfall, fires, woodland cover, vegetation biomass), distance to the nearest barrier (river, fence, cultivated area) and social factors (age, size of herd at capture) were all important in explaining variation in migratory behaviour. The relative contributions of these variables to partial migration have not previously been assessed for ungulates in the tropics. Understanding the factors driving migratory decisions of wildlife will lead to better-informed conservation and land-use decisions in this area.

Document Type:Article
Title:Home on the Range: Factors Explaining Partial Migration of African Buffalo in a Tropical Environment
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Naidoo, RobinConservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund-United States (WWF-US), Washington, D.C. United States of America
Du Preez, PierreDirectorate of Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Windhoek, Namibia
Stuart-Hill, GregWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia,
Jago, MarkDirectorate of Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Windhoek, Namibia
Wegmann, Martinmartin.wegmann@uni-wuerzburg.de
Date:3 May 2012
Journal or Publication Title:PLoS One
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:7
DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0036527
Page Range:pp. 1-11
Editors:
EditorsEmail
Boyce, Mark S.University of Alberta, Canada
Publisher:PLoS ONE
Status:Published
Keywords:Africa; Animal Movement; Ecology; Buffalo Migration; Modelling;
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Geowissenschaftl. Fernerkundungs- und GIS-Verfahren (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center
Deposited By: Julian Zeidler
Deposited On:30 Jul 2012 09:26
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 21:43

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