The effects of artificial water holes on the distribution of elephants and other mammalian herbivores in Savuti, Northern Botswana
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It has been argued that the wide-scale provision of artificial surface water in semi-arid savannas may result in homogenisation of foraging habitats, compromising biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. This study looks at the distribution of mammals around two waterholes namely Rhino vley and Marabou vley in Northern Botswana Savuti, Chobe National Park. This is explored by examining consistencies within and differences between distribution patterns of herbivore feeding groups on the different soil types and distances from the waterholes. In this study I used tracks and dung counts plus visual observations to look at the distribution of species around the two artificial water wholes using ordinations to show the distribution patterns. Multivariate analysis and Canonical analysis was used to to treat the data. The results in this paper (from the ordinations) show that animals densities decreased with increasing distance from the water holes and that body size plays a major role in the distribution of species around artificial water holes as obseved in other studies. A similiar study should be done in the dry season in Savuti to have more precision on the assemblages of different species around the artificial waterholes, in order for management implications to be taken in consideration if need be.
Master thesis in applied ecology, 2010