Land cover changes and impact on the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) conservation in Omo National Park, Ethiopia


  • Girma Timer Jeza Addis Ababa University
  • Afework Bekele Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



African elephant, change detection, GIS and RS technology, supervised classification, Omo National Park


Land Use Land Cover (LULC) changes are a major cause of natural habitat alterations and biodiversity losses affecting wildlife habitats, species distribution, and movement patterns. Understanding the impact of LULC changes on wildlife and their habitats is crucial for the implementation of effective conservation measures, especially in and around conservation areas. LULC changes between 1993, 2003, 2013, and 2023 in Omo National Park (ONP) and adjacent areas were classified and monitored. Landsat Satellite Imagery was used to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of LULC changes using a geographic information system and remote sensing techniques. We found that LULC changed over the last three decades and that LULC changes in surrounding buffer areas influenced the status of the elephant population more than changes within ONP. In ONP, open grassland decreased while the other land covers such as savanna wooded grassland, bushland, woodland, forest land and water bodies increased, whereas in the surrounding buffer areas of ONP, forest land and open grassland decreased and agricultural land increased sharply. The main cause of the contribution of land-cover change in the study area was agriculture related to the expansion of on-site farms and large-scale agricultural investment, which increased by about 284% over the 30 years. Habitats suitable for African elephants outside the eastern Park boundary were converted to sugar cane plantations leading to a decline in the African elephant population and its range, especially in the last 15 years after a Mega Sugar Project was launched in the region in 2010 to develop sugar industry. Our results have shown that large-scale agricultural investments and associated human activities have contributed to the changes in LULC affecting the suitable habitats and migration corridors of the African elephant in the study area.


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How to Cite

Jeza, G. T., & Bekele, A. . (2024). Land cover changes and impact on the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) conservation in Omo National Park, Ethiopia. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(2), 103–121.