Spatial statistics for modeling of abundance and distribution of wildlife species in the Masai Mara ecosystem, Kenya

W.M. Khaemba, A. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study illustrates the use of modern statistical procedures for better wildlife management by addressing three key issues: determination of abundance, modeling of animal distributions and variability of diversity in space and time. Prior information in Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods is used to improve estimates of abundance. Measures of autocorrelation are included when modeling distributions of animal counts, and a diversity index to indicate species abundance and richness for large herbivores is developed. Data from the Masai Mara ecosystem in Kenya are used to develop and demonstrate these procedures. The new abundance estimates are up to 35 ore accurate than those obtained by existing methods. Significant temporal changes in spatial patterns are found from a space-time analysis of elephant counts over a 20-year period, with strong interactions over 5 km and 6 months space and time separations, respectively. The new diversity index is sensitive to both high abundance and species richness and is also able to capture year to year variation. It indicates an overall marginal decrease in diversity for large herbivores in the Mara ecosystem. The space-time analyses and diversity index can easily be computed thereby providing tools for rapid decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-360
JournalEnvironmental and Ecological Statistics
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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