Dr. Robin Reid and I have been working with a collaborative team of researchers to study the impacts of land fragmentation, or parceling, on wildebeest in southwest Kenya. Dr. Reid worked with a large team to map all of the instances of land fragmentation, such as destruction from fences and buildings, in an area south of Nairobi National Park.
We have collared 36 wildebeest with GPS tracking devices, which is the largest set of GPS points ever gathered on wildebeest. We are monitoring how far the animals move each day, where they go, and how they respond when they encounter a fence, road or other man-made obstacle on the land. By combining the land fragmentation maps and animal behavior data, we will be able to create models to show what land management practices will benefit wildlife migration in the area. Impacts of climate change, such as more frequent droughts, could force the wildlife to migrate further in the future, and having more obstacles along the way could take its toll on the wildebeest populations.
We hope our research will give the communities here the information they need to make sustainable land management choices. For more information on the Gnu Landscapes Project, click here!