Research resultsResearch results

A lot of exciting and fascinating research has been carried out on Ol Pejeta over the past few years - which has helped us shape management plans for wildlife, livestock and habitats.

This has included research on wildlife populations and behaviour, such as investigating the effects of sex-biased inbreeding on the reproductive success and home range size of the black rhino. Understanding how individual differences in genetic diversity mediate the outcome of intrasexual competition in black rhino will be essential for Ol Pejeta to effectively manage its enclosed population. Research on predicting the habitat usage of the black rhino has also been useful, as it highlighted areas of potential high browse pressure which should be the focus of EMU's continued monitoring. This research also helped inform decisions on exclusion zones. Another researcher working on Ol Pejeta uncovered the social organisation of reticulated giraffe, which will be vital in conservation strategies for this species. This research reported that although giraffe social interactions are highly fluid in nature, it is apparent that association patterns in giraffe are not the result of random fission–fusion events, but are embedded within a structured social network characterised by multiple levels of organisation.

A study into the influences of body mass index (BMI), age and sex on inflammatory disease risk in semi-captive chimpanzees suggested that managing BMI should be an integral part of health management in captive chimpanzee populations. This can not only be applied to Ol Pejeta's chimpanzees, but to semi-captive chimpanzees all over the world.

Research on Ol Pejeta's habitats has been highly important as well. Establishing the rate at which the invasive Euclea divinorum plant was taking over grassland has been vital in developing management strategies that will hopefully inhibit the spread of the bush. Research into the variability in survival and mortality of Acacia drepanolobium Sjøstedt following prescribed burning on Ol Pejeta reported that, although burning was a useful tool in other parts of the Conservancy, it was in fact detrimental to Acacia drepanolobium woodland because it reversed tree growth and reduced the flower and fruit set in mature trees. Burning also resulted in reduced seedling recruitment as burnt areas attracted seedling predators. It was recommended to Ol Pejeta that in order to maintain a stable and productive habitat for black rhino, controlled burning should be practiced away from A. drepanolobium dominated or mixed woodlands.

Other research projects into Ol Pejeta's wildlife/livestock integration have also produced fascinating results, and there is still a lot more to be done. Read through recent papers below:

2016, Sernert. Pilot study of Corridor use by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia District, Kenya. Click here to download.

2016, Augusstson. Activity patterns of large carnivores in a fenced conservation area in Laikipia District, Kenya. Click here to download.

2016, Bjorkdahl. Migration behaviour of the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) in the conservancy of Ol Pejeta. (In Swedish) Click to download.

2016, Engelmann, Herrmann. Current Biology; Chimpanzees Trust Their Friends. Click to download.

2015, Costelloe. Coping with transition: offspring risk and maternal behavioural changes at the end of the hiding phase. Click to download.

2015, Roberts. Maternal tactics for mitigating neonate predation risk during the postpartum period in Thomson’s gazelle. Click to download.

2015, Mulama, Lush, Jones. Predicting the habitat usage of African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) using random forest models. Click to download. 

2014, IUCN Programme for African Protected Areas & Conservation. Twenty two stories of conservation in Africa: Key elements for effective and well governed protected areas in sub-saharan Africa. Click to download.

2014, Roberts. The trials of motherhood: maternal behaviour patterns and antipredator tactics in Thomson's gazelle (gazella thomsonii), a hiding ungulate. Click to download. 

2014, Obanda, Omondi, VanderWaal. Mixed-host aggregations and helminth parasite sharing in anEast African wildlife–livestock system. Click to download. 

2014, Obanda, Omondi, Chiyo. The influence of body mass Index, age and sex on inflammatory disease risk in semi-captive chimpanzees. Click to download. 

2014, VanderWaal et al. Biological Conservation. Quantifying microbe transmission networks for wild and domestic ungulates in Kenya. Click to download

2013, VanderWaal et al. Behavioral Ecology. Multilevel social organization and space use in reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) Click to download

2013, VanderWaal et al. Linking social and pathogen transmission networks using microbial genetics in giraffe. Journal of Animal Ecology. Click to download.

2013, VanderWaal et al. Linking social and pathogen transmission networks using microbial genetics in East African ungulates. Click to download.

2013, Cain et al. Conservation Biology. Sex-biased inbreeding effects on reproductive success and home range size of the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Click to download

2013, VanderWaal et al. University of California, Davis. Research Outputs. Click to download

2013, Melis, Tomasello. Chimpanzees' (Pan troglodytes) strategic helping in collaborative task. Click to download

2013, Njeri. Tourist satisfaction level at Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) in Laikipia, Kenya. Click here to download. 

2013, Packer et al. Conserving large carnivores: dollars and fence. Click to download.

2012, Roberts. An attack by a warthog, Phacochoerus africanus, on a newborn Thomson’s gazelle, Gazella thomsonii. Click here to download.

2012, Porensky. Edge effect interactions in an African savannah. Click here to download.

2010, Patton, Mulama, Mutisya, Campbell. The effect of removing a dividing fence between two populations of black rhinos. Click to download.

2010, Patton, Mulama, Mutisya, Campbell. Colonization of a New Area in the First Six Months Following 'Same-Day' Free Release Translocation of Black Rhinos in Kenya. Click to download.