Tarangire revisited: consequences of declining connectivity in a tropical ungulate population

Morrison, T. A., Link, W. A., Newmark, W. D., Foley, C. A. H. and Bolger, D. T. (2016) Tarangire revisited: consequences of declining connectivity in a tropical ungulate population. Biological Conservation, 197, pp. 53-60. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.02.034)

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Abstract

The hyper-abundance of migratory wildlife in many ecosystems depends on maintaining access to seasonally available resources. In Eastern and Southern Africa, land-use change and a loss of connectivity have coincided with widespread declines in the abundance and geographic range of ungulate populations. Using photographic capture-mark-recapture, we examine the historical pattern of loss of connectivity and its impact on population trends in a partially migratory wildebeest population in northern Tanzania. To estimate abundance, we use a novel modeling approach that overcomes bias associated with photo misidentifications. Our data indicate (1) diminished connectivity within and between seasonal areas as a result of human activities, (2) a reduction in the overall population size compared to historical numbers, with high variability over time, (3) the continued use of highly constrained movement corridors between the three main seasonal ranges, (4) higher recruitment in the non-migratory subpopulation (Lake Manyara National Park) than in other areas of the ecosystem, and (5) an increase in the relative abundance of resident to migrant wildebeest. Recent conservation efforts to protect seasonal habitat and to enforce anti-poaching policies outside protected areas have likely helped stabilize the population, at least temporarily, but we caution that several key vulnerabilities remain.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funded by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Earthwatch and the Switzer Foundation.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morrison, Dr Thomas
Authors: Morrison, T. A., Link, W. A., Newmark, W. D., Foley, C. A. H., and Bolger, D. T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Biological Conservation
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-3207
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Biological Conservation 197:53-60
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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