Richard Tshombe Country Director wcs-drc



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GROUND SURVEY

Hilde Vanleeuwe, Cyril Pélissier, Philipp Henschel, Arnaud Gotanègre




      1. Vegetation

Only 3% of the sampled areas at UNP and 1% at KNP had dense forest coverage, which are typically in the wettest places, with species as Canarium schweinfurthii, Symphonia globulifera, Dracaena fragrans, Kigelia africana, Spathodea campanulata. The survey took place at the end of the dry season because vegetation is sparser and visibility on the ground better. At UNP, 56% of transects showed a ground vegetation cover between 0 to 0.5m height and 26% showed no ground cover and only 18% had grass taller than 1m, due to seasonality and fires. At KNP, as much as 41% of transects ran through areas void of ground vegetation as a result of fire.




      1. Animals

76 transects of 500m intersected by 862km recces or routes of least resistance were walked in UNP. 95 transects of 500m intersected by 290km recces were walked in KNP. Recces often represent human or animal trails and monitoring them increases the likelihood of finding animal signs in areas where animal abundance is very low (symbols on Fig 4). However, because recces are often trails, sign abundance of the species creating the trails (i.e. humans) are very high and recce data is therefore not representative for the overall environment and cannot be used to develop accurate species distribution maps. Distribution maps are made from transect data because transects are straight lines of the same length that are evenly distributed, and data collected along them can therefore be compared with minimal bias, and be extrapolated to the entire monitored environment (Fig 4).


Figure 4: Animal presence (a) and Human presence (b), UNP and KNP, Oct 2008


Distribution maps created from transect data show that areas that were almost void of animal signs are fewer at UNP than at KNP (Fig 4). The animal distribution map (a) is typically almost the opposite image of the human distribution map (b).
The data in Tables 2 and 3 show both recce and transect data but the abundance data per species is classed by order of abundance found along transects because this is most representative of reality. Animal sign abundance is very low at UNP and shockingly low at KNP. If only transects are taken into account, 25 species are recorded at UNP and only 15 at KNP (Tab 2 and Tab 3). Nevertheless, it must be reminded that only 1/4th of UNP was monitored and we know that Northwest of UNP is still inhabited by several large groups of elephants, that Upemba lechwe may well still be found in the southwest and greater kudu and roan in the South.

 

Transect

Recce

TOTAL

N = 76 (38km)

~ 862km

~ 900km

Species

Plateau

Other

Plateau

Other

Plateau

Other

Total

N=42

N=34

~471km

~391km

~492km

~408km

~900km

Gommon duiker

253

485

160

203

413

688

1101

Common warthog

41

285

26

394

67

679

746

Bushpig

148

64

188

81

336

145

481

Reedbuck

115

28

294

20

409

48

457

Puku

36

96

1

75

37

171

208

Yellow baboon

51

71

154

151

205

222

427

Bushbuck

12

90

3

66

15

156

171

Oribi

51

0

69

2

120

2

122

Sable antelope

0

45

20

57

20

102

122

Aardvark

39

4

55

7

94

11

105

Klipspringer

4

39

0

30

4

69

73

Side-striped jackal

26

2

55

5

81

7

88

Human

5

7

76

238

81

245

326

Waterbuck

0

17

9

71

9

88

97

Plains zebra

8

0

54

0

62

0

62

Blue duiker

2

6

10

6

12

12

24

Hippopotamus

0

5

0

15

0

20

20

Gentle Monkey

0

4

0

2

0

6

6

Cape buffalo

0

3

0

12

0

15

15

Honey badger

1

1

1

0

2

1

3

African civet

1

0

5

1

6

1

7

Serval

0

1

3

1

3

2

5

Unid. otter

1

0

2

0

3

0

3

Yellow-backed duiker

0

1

0

2

0

3

3

Unid. large carnivore

0

1

1

3

1

4

5

Leopard

0

0

5

2

5

2

7

Unid. mongoose

0

0

0

5

0

5

5

medium-sized felid

0

0

0

3

0

3

3

Colobus

0

0

0

3

0

3

3

Elephant

0

0

0

3

0

3

3

Sitatunga

0

0

1

0

1

0

1

African wild cat

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

Crocodile

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

TOTAL

794

1255

1192

1460

1986

2715

4701
Table 2: Animal signs abundance UNP, Oct 2008
The total number of animal observations was higher at UNP than at KNP, both along recces and along transects. However, although that the UNP combined animal sign distribution map gives a healthy impression, much of the animal abundance data belong to only a handful of species, namely common warthog, bushpig, common duiker, southern reedbuck and yellow baboon (Tab 2 and 3).
4701 animal signs belonging to at least 33 species were recorded at UNP, representing on average 5.2 signs / Km (Tab 2). Of those, 644 or 14% were direct observations: 266 yellow baboon, 83 common duiker, 69 common warthog, 44 humans, 40 southern reedbuck, 31 oribi, 27 plains zebra, 21 puku, 17 bushpig, 8 side-striped jackal, 8 bushbuck, 6 klipspringer, 5 hippopotamus, 5 mongoose, 3 serval, 3 gentle monkey, 3 colobus, 2 waterbuck, 1 sable antelope, 1 blue duiker and 1 nile crocodile. Human sign abundance on T’s, occupy the 13th place at UNP (Tab 2).

1241 animal signs belonging to 20 species were recorded at KNP, representing on average 3.3 signs/ Km (Tab 3). Of those, 82 or 6% were direct observations: 19 southern reedbuck, 18 yellow baboon, 16 grijsbok, 5 bushpig, 5 oribi, 3 common duiker, 2 bushbuck, 2 humans, 1 common warthog and 1 side-striped jackal. Human sign abundance on T’s, occupy the 1st place at KNP (Tab 3).


Table 3: Animal signs abundance KNP, Oct 2008

 

Transect

Recce

TOTAL

N = 95 (45.5km)

~ 332.5km

~ 380km

Species

Plateau

Other

Plateau

Other

Plateau

Other

Total

N=60

N=35

~210km

~122.5km

~240km

~140km

~380km

Human

15

86

92

149

107

235

342

Grijsbok

32

15

144

86

176

101

277

Bushpig

14

13

43

73

57

86

143

Sable antelope

2

6

67

31

69

37

106

Greater kudu

8

0

11

2

19

2

21

Bushbuck

2

4

15

25

17

29

46

Waterbuck

5

0

2

0

7

0

7

Common warthog

3

0

39

20

42

20

62

Klipspringer

0

3

5

2

5

5

10

Southern reedbuck

2

0

39

12

41

12

53

Aardvark

2

0

12

39

14

39

53

Hartebeest

2

0

26

1

28

1

29

Side-striped jackal

1

0

4

0

5

0

5

Unidentified genet

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

Yellow baboon

0

0

12

20

12

20

32

Common duiker

0

0

4

22

4

22

26

Oribi

0

0

20

2

20

2

22

African civet

0

0

3

0

0

3

3

Sitatunga

0

0

0

2

0

2

2

Serval

0

0

1

0

1

0

1

TOTAL

89

127

539

486

625

616

1241

      1. Human Impact

At UNP, human signs represent less than 1% of 2049 recorded signs on T’s and 12% of 2652 recorded signs (Tab 2). At KNP, human signs represent a shocking 47% of 216 signs recorded on T’s and 20% of 1025 signs recorded on R’s (Tab 3) outnumbering signs of all animal species encountered both on T’s and R’s. Human presence at UNP and KNP is very high. Human impact in the area covered by the ground survey at UNP mainly consists of poaching and fishing camps along the Lufira valley and traps and carcasses (Fig 5, Tab 4). In comparison to UNP, KNP had on average 5 times more settlement, 3 times more human tracks, 40 times more fires, half the number of poacher’s camps but 2 times more traps and carcasses (Fig 6, Tab 4).


Table 4: Human signs at UNP and KNP, Oct 2008

Human Impact

UNP

KNP

UNP

Signs / km



KNP

Signs / km



Settlement / agriculture

8

18

0.01

0.05

Tracks / roads

68

99

0.11

0.29

Fires

8

139

0.01

0.41

Traps / carcasses

74

67

0.12

0.20

Poachers camp

79

17

0.13

0.05

Fishing camp

47

0

0.08

0.00

Observed

43

2

0.07

0.01

TOTAL

327

342

0.55

1.01

Figure 5: Human impact at UNP, Oct 2008


The current state of wildlife at UNP is better than at KNP, but nevertheless as many as 43 people, 79 poaching camps and 47 fishing camps were physically encountered at UNP (Fig 5, Tab 4). The current human pressure at UNP will reduce wildlife to the shocking state of KNP if no immediate action is taken to remove camps and illegal villages from UNP (Fig 5).
Figure 6: Human impact at KNP, Oct 2008

KNP has much more human impact than UNP. On average 1 fire (used by poachers to facilitate hunting) was encountered every 2,5km and 1 snare trap every 5km at KNP (Fig 6, Tab 4). Signs of humans largely outnumbered those of all animals (Tab 3).
At KNP several species are wiped out and it is too late for many species to revive naturally. Reintroduction of animals is useless until human pressure is removed.





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