Spatiotemporal patterns of lion (Panthera leo) space use in a human-wildlife system.

Published online
10 Oct 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Ecological Solutions and Evidence

Burak, M. K. & Broekhuis, F. & Dickman, A. & Ekwanga, S. & Elliot, N. & Frank, L. & Oriol-Cotterill, A. & Williams, T. M. & Wilmers, C. C. & Schmitz, O.
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Conserving large carnivores requires protecting landscape spaces that encompass all spatiotemporal scales of their movement. Large carnivores normally roam widely, but habitat loss and fragmentation can constrain their movement in ways that restrict access to resources and increase encounters with humans and potential conflict. Facilitating carnivore population coexistence with humans across landscapes requires conservation plans informed by patterns of carnivore space use, particularly at the human-wildlife interface. We sought to understand lion space use in Laikipia, Kenya. We conducted a path-selection function analysis using GPS collar data from 16 lions to assess patterns of space use across a range of spatial scales (sedentary to home range expanses; 0, 12.5, 25 and 50 km) and temporal scales (day, dusk, night and dawn). Path-selection results were then incorporated into space use maps. We found that most landscape features influenced path-selection at the broadest spatial scale (50 km), representative of home range-wide movement, thereby demonstrating a landscape-wide human impact on lion space use. We also detected sub-diurnal variation in lion path-selection which revealed limited space use during daylight hours and increased space use overnight. Our results highlight that optimal support for human-lion coexistence should be temporally adaptive at sub-diurnal scales. Furthermore, spatial approaches to lion conservation may be better generalized at broad spatial scales so that land management plans can account for home range patterns in lion space use.

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