International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 625

Full Length Research Paper

Sumatran elephant ranging behavior in a fragmented rainforest landscape

Sitompul, A. F.1,2*, Griffin, C. R.2 and Fuller, T. K.2
1Conservation Science Initiative, Jakarta, Indonesia. 2Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 January 2013
  •  Published: 28 February 2013

Abstract

Increasingly, habitat fragmentation by agricultural and human development has forced Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) into relatively small areas; yet, there is no information on the movements and home range behaviors of elephants on Sumatra. Using a GPS collar, we estimated the home range sizes of an adult female elephant (one of a herd of 40 to 60) in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (SECC), Bengkulu Province of Sumatra in 2007 to 2008. We assessed the level of autocorrelation among elephant locations, and used correlation and logistic regression analyses to examine relationships between elephant movements and monthly rainfall, and elephant locations with the remotely sensed enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and distance to roads and rivers. Overall home range size was 97.4 km2 for the minimum convex polygon (MCP), and 95.0 km2 for the 95% fixed kernel (FK), estimator. There were no relationships between average monthly elephant home range sizes or movement distances with rainfall. Distances to rivers and ex-logging roads had little effect on elephant locations, but EVI, an index of canopy photosynthetic capacity, did correspond with elephant locations, occurring predominately in forests with intermediate canopy cover versus closed canopy forests. Consistent food and water availability in the lowland forests of the SECC in combination with high human development surrounding the center probably affect the small home range size.

 

Key words: Elephas maximus, home range, Indonesia, movement, Sumatran elephant.