Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Festus Ihwagi

Date: 12 September 2018
Time: 12:30 - 13:30
Location: UT Waaier 4, Enschede

Dissertation title:

Living in a risky landscape: Elephant movement in relation to poaching

Group: University of Twente, Department of Natural Resources
Promotor: Prof. Andrew Skidmore
Co-promotors: Dr. Tiejun Wang, Dr. Albertus Toxopeus


The illegal killing of elephants and habitat loss are the greatest immediate threats to elephants. Despite the numerous studies on the impact of poaching on elephants’ populations in general, fewer studies have focused on the behavioural adaptations of elephants living in those risky landscapes. This thesis sought to understand the site level drivers of illegal killing and how elephants adapt to the threat. Using field verified records of causes of elephant mortality, the distribution of live elephants based on aerial censuses, and, the cadastral attributes of land parcels in the ecosystem, the thesis established that land use type is the most important correlate of levels of illegal killing and not its ownership. The study analysed the changes in movement of elephants at hourly, day and night, and overall 24 hr activity cycle in relation to the spatial and temporal variation of the levels of illegal killing.

Dissertations with full text links

By September we will present an overview of SENSE dissertations on this page, with links to the full texts of the dissertations.