GEOSPATIAL ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN-WILDLIFE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS FOR SPATIAL DECISION SUPPORT
Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is a global concern that requires geospatial data collection, analysis and geovisualization for decision support and mitigation. Bull African elephants, ( Loxodonata africana), are often responsible for breaking fences, raiding crops and causing economic hardship in local communities in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Methods for monitoring and understanding elephant movements are needed to mitigate conflict, find ways for coexistence and secure the future of Africa’s elephant populations. Researchers from academia and conservation organizations are partnering with decision makers and scientists of the Zimbabwe Department of National Park and Wild Life Management (PWMA) to track the movement of 15 bull elephants in the general area of Victoria Falls to analyse spatio-temporal patterns of elephant behaviour related to climatic factors, habitat conditions and changing land uses. Spatial decision support for local famers, resource managers and planners will assist in avoiding agricultural expansion and urban development that coincides with elephant corridors and access to water resources.