Modeling Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus Fundamental Niche in Kenya
International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
Volume 3, Issue 5, October 2015, Pages: 317-330
Received: Sep. 29, 2015; Accepted: Oct. 13, 2015; Published: Nov. 17, 2015
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Bernard Mungoma Kuloba, Kenya Wildlife Service, Biodiversity Research and Monitoring, Nairobi, Kenya
Hein Van Gils, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
Iris Van Duren, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
Shadrack Muvui Muya, Department of Zoology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Shadrack Mumo Ngene, Kenya Wildlife Service, Parks and Reserves, Nairobi, Kenya
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The cheetah is currently recognized by IUCN as a threatened species. Kenya is one of country with significant cheetah population in the world though it fundamental niche is not well known. Wildlife can live in an area only if basic resources such as food, water, and cover are present and if the species is adapted in ways that allow them to cope with the climatic extremes, selection involves several levels of discrimination and spatial scales and a number of potentially interacting factors. This study was to model cheetah fundamental niche using suitable environmental predictors and evaluates suitability of current protected area coverage in its conservation. Two types of model input data used were cheetah occurrence locations and a suite of environmental variables thought to have a direct physiological role in limiting the ability of the species to survive. The species occurrence records and environmental variables were entered into a MaxEnt model which uses maximum entropy algorithm to identify environmental conditions that are associated with species occurrence. Ideal fundamental niche for cheetah were found to be localities within an elevation range of 1600-2100 meters above sea level, receiving mean annual precipitation of 800 mm, with the warmest quarter of the year receiving 250 mm, the wettest month receiving 120 mm, precipitation of coldest quarter 10 mm and temperature seasonality ranges of 150°. Cheetah fundamental niche run across protected areas and for effective conservation, Results could be used to direct conservation effort go beyond parks and reserves by encouraging community conservancies and development of ecological corridors. Protected area planning could benefit too from these results.
Cheetah, Fundamental Niche, Protected Areas, Community Conservancies
To cite this article
Bernard Mungoma Kuloba, Hein Van Gils, Iris Van Duren, Shadrack Muvui Muya, Shadrack Mumo Ngene, Modeling Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus Fundamental Niche in Kenya, International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis. Vol. 3, No. 5, 2015, pp. 317-330. doi: 10.11648/j.ijema.20150305.22
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