Spatial ecology of lions in a small, semi-fenced park surrounded by dense human populations: The case study of Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Francis Lesilau (Corresponding author), Stijn Verschueren, Maarten van't Zelfde, Kees C.J.M. Musters, Geert R. De Snoo, Hans H. De Iongh

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Human population growth near protected areas often results in detrimental edge effects for apex carnivores, such as the African lion. Urbanization leads to new scenarios of the human-lion conflict, thus understanding ranging patterns close to urban environments is crucial to inform future management strategies. We collected GPS data from 12 collared lions between 2014 and 2018 in Nairobi National Park, which borders the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi city. We estimated home ranges, calculated daily distance traveled and tested for differences between sex, season and pride. Additionally, we investigated how disturbance from Nairobi and surrounding human settlements affected space-use of lions, and tested for differences between sex, season and time of day. Lions showed restricted movements (4.5 km/day) and had small home ranges (49 km2). Male lions had larger ranges than females, but avoidance behavior of disturbed areas was similar. Lions took advantage during times of low human activity, i.e., during the night, to extend ranging behavior in search for resources. Risk for livestock depredation also increased during the wet season when lions roamed longer, more frequently, and deeper into the community lands. We recommend the establishment of buffer zones to maintain a viable lion population and reduced risk for conflict.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMammalia
Volumein press
Early online date10 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • carnivore
  • home range
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • protected area
  • urbanization

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