Form Submission: Participation Entry

Abstract: 
Within a heterogeneous landscape, animals concentrate movement along routes that allow them to best utilize resource dense patches. These routes are observable for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) as they create permanent trails by repeated travel between resource centers. I sought to determine if fruit trees are an important driver of elephant movement in the forests of Kibale National Park, Uganda by examining elephant trails. I hypothesized that elephant trails, and especially intersections of elephant trails, would show higher densities of fruit trees, thus indicating strong associations between fruit trees and elephant movement. Elephant trails and nearby fruit trees were mapped within a 64-km2 plot on the interior of the park. Elephant trails and trail intersections have significantly higher fruit tree density and basal area compared to controls. This suggests that fruit trees are important motivators of elephant movement and should be considered when managing elephant populations in forests.