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Habitat suitability analysis for hippopotamus (H. amphibious) using GIS and remote sensing in Lake Tana and its environs, Ethiopia

  • Buruso F
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Abstract

This research was carried out from October 2013 to May 2014. Hippopotamus amphibious is a mammalian species distributed in different lakes and rivers where ecological requirements are fulfilled for its survival. Lake Tana and its environs are home to Hippopotamus amphibious. The species is identified as vulnerable worldwide due to habitat loss and poaching. However, despite its vulnerability, there is no research conducted regarding the species, and its environmental requirements in Ethiopia. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to carryout habitat suitability analysis and find out suitable habitat sites of hippopotamus within the Lake Tana and its environs using the integra- tion of GIS and remote sensing techniques. The softwares such as, Arc GIS10.2, ERDAS IMAGINE2010, and Virtual satel- lite image downloader were used in this research. The data used were SPOT image of 2012 of the study area, bathym- etric data of Lake Tana, DEM, Google Earth data and GCP. Running a suitability model requires estimation of weights by expertise for each individual criterion on GIS software. Thus, the habitats in Lake Tana and its environs ranging from most suitable to not suitable for hippopotamus were identified. It was shown that 50.88% of the areas under study was highly disturbed and became unsuitable to hippopotamus, 42.29% of the areas were moderately disturbed, and only 1.81% of the areas were revealed to be undisturbed. As the study result showed that in and around Lake Tana, a human factor was considered to be outweighing the physical factors to minimize the habitat for the aforementioned animal. The results revealed that only 22.54% of the study areas were identified as most suitable for the animal under study of which the large portions of the areas are located at the backside of settlements which are not easily acces- sible by the species, while 40.5% of the areas were found to be moderately suitable, and 36.96% were unsuitable habi- tats for hippopotamus. Based on the findings of the present study it was concluded that there was high interference of human being in the habitats of hippopotamus especially at the shores of the lake since the land were looked-for agricultural activities. Therefore, too much proximity of human activities in identified hippopotamus habitats have to be protected and conservation buffer surrounding the Lake has to be developed.

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Buruso, F. H. (2018). Habitat suitability analysis for hippopotamus (H. amphibious) using GIS and remote sensing in Lake Tana and its environs, Ethiopia. Environmental Systems Research, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40068-017-0083-8

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