Factors affecting lion (Panthera Leo) spatial occurrence in the Zambezi region, Namibia

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Science
Title Factors affecting lion (Panthera Leo) spatial occurrence in the Zambezi region, Namibia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/95930
Lion populations globally are on the decrease and their habitats are fragmenting. Despite their
importance in the Zambezi Region in Namibia, very little research has yet been undertaken to
understand their occurrence in this area. One of the primary motivations behind this study was
the Kavango Zambezi Trans Frontier Conservation Area’s (KAZA TFCA) need to identify transboundary
movement of carnivores. The collaborative approach with the Ministry of Environment
and Tourism in Namibia facilitated the collaring of lions in three National Parks. A number of
species were collared and this study focuses on the occurrence of lions in the Zambezi Region.
From the lion home range analysis we could see that the home-range sizes of the collared lions
varied greatly across the study area. The difference in home range size is largely due to human
pressure surrounding the protected areas. Geographically weighted regression assisted in
understanding which were the main drivers of lion occurrence, but further investigation was
needed using the Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) model for presence-only data.
The factors that were investigated as possibly affecting the occurrence of lions included the
following: rivers, land cover, land use, elevation and human activity. After pursuing various
research models and manipulating data among all these factors, no single factor or combination
of factors was found to be reliable predictors on lion occurrence in the study area. As is
discussed in recommendations for further research in Chapter 6, it became clear that quantitative
data cannot be used in isolation to predict where lions may occur.

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