Moeen, Mariam (2021-07). Assessment of Home Range Estimates for Namibian Elephants Using GIS and Remote Sensing. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • In the region of northwestern Namibia, the desert elephants' population has been reduced to a total of 81 remaining as of 2019. Their population has been on a steady decline due to poaching, wars in the region, increasing human settlements, and various environmental factors that have affected the region for decades. There is a lack of information regarding the Namibian elephants, their migration patterns, and areas in which they reside. Efforts to assess the optimal home ranges for these elephants are important for the conservation of one of the last populations of desert-dwelling elephants. This research tracks the movement of nine Namibian elephants over an approximately five-year period, and introduces a new method for quantifying their home ranges. Given elephants' ability to communicate over great distances using low-frequency sound, a sound-based home range estimate is proposed and compared to traditional minimum convex polygon (MCP) estimates. The size of these two home range estimates is first compared, and remotely sensed vegetation and slope data are then extracted from the home ranges. The resulting values were compared statistically to determine which home range estimate is most representative of the Namibian elephants' preferred environment. The traditional MCP home range ultimately proved to be more effective in quantifying the elephants' home range environment. This information not only contributes to improving the knowledge base regarding the Namibian elephant sub-population, but also develops a simple and effective methodology to study other elephant populations, thereby aiding in the conservation of the species.

publication date

  • July 2021