Session: Vital Connections in Ecology: Novel Collaborations with Community Stakeholders
Occurrence areas of common hippopotamus outside the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, northern Benin: Implication for the sustainable conservation
Monday, August 2, 2021
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Adounke Mahugnon Gilles Renaud Jr., wildlife Ecology, Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Abomey Calavi, Benin, Djagoun chabi Adéyèmi Marc Sylvestre Sr., Kpera Gnanki Nathalie Sr., Kassa Barthélémy Sr. and Mensah Guy Apollinaire Sr., Wildlife Ecology, Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Abomey Calavi, Benin, Kpera Gnanki Nathalie Sr., crops production, National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin, Abomey Calavi, Benin, Mensah Guy Apollinaire Sr., animal production, National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin, Abomey Calavi, Benin
Adounke Mahugnon Gilles Renaud
wildlife Ecology, Laboratory of Applied Ecology Abomey Calavi, Benin
Background/Question/Methods: Understanding the spatial distribution and habitat utilization of animals play a significant role in wildlife conservation for the benefits of both animals and communities living in the vicinity of protected areas. This study was conducted to assess the distribution and occurrence areas of the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) outside the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve (PBR). Data were collected from 2018 to 2019 through the prospection of 139 grids of 2 km x 2 km. Hippo occurrence areas outside the protected area were surveyed thorough assessment of the number of tracks of presence recorded in each microhabitat around the Pendjari River. Results/Conclusions: Hippo is randomly distributed in the vicinity of the Pendjari River outside the protected area. This distribution is significantly and negatively correlated with the crop distance from the Pendjari River (β= -0.0003; p=0.04) and positively with crop numbers (β= 0.829; p=0.0171) around the Pendjari River. From the 227 Hippo tracks of presence recorded outside the protected area, 71.37 % were in cropland, 14% in gallery forest, 7.93% in grassland, and 6.6% at the river bank. Because hippos occur in croplands, the success of conservation programs and habitat management should focus on educating the local community and promote positive attitudes towards H. amphibius outside the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve.