Malé R. Kely, PhD, Junior Researcher, Laboratory of Biodiversity of Tropical Ecology, Jean Lorougnon Guédé University (BP 150, Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire); Swiss Centre for Scientific Research in Côte d'Ivoire (01 BP 1303, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Célestin Y. Kouakou, PhD, Junior Researcher and Lecturer in Laboratory of Biodiversity of Tropical Ecology, Jean Lorougnon Guédé University (BP 150, Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire); Swiss Centre for Scientific Research in Côte d'Ivoire (01 BP 1303, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Jean-Claude K. Béné, Laboratory of Biodiversity of Tropical Ecology, Jean Lorougnon Guédé University (BP 150 Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Manouhin R. Tiedoué, Ecological and GIS Officer in the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (06 BP 426, Abidjan 06, Côte d'Ivoire); e-mail:
Abdoulaye Diarrasouba, Director of the Taï National Park, Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (06 BP 426, Abidjan 06, Côte d'Ivoire); e-mail:
Adama Tondossama, General Director in the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (06 BP 426, Abidjan 06, Côte d'Ivoire); e-mail:
Hjalmar S. Kuehl, PhD, Senior Researcher of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Deutscher Platz 6, 04103, Leipzig, Germany); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Matthias Waltert, Senior Researcher of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Wilhelmsplatz 1, 37073, Göttingen, Germany); iD ORCID:; e-mail:

Reference to article

Kely M.R., Kouakou C.Y., Béné J.C.K., Tiedoué M.R., Diarrasouba A., Tondossama A., Kuehl H.S., Waltert M. 2021. Research and tourism affect positively the occupancy pattern of Loxodonta cyclotis (Elephantidae) in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. Nature Conservation Research 6(1): 68–77.

Section Research articles

The decline and isolation of wild megafauna populations are increasingly recognised in Africa. In Côte d'Ivoire where elephants are a national symbol, the Taï National Park (TNP) is a key remaining habitat for Loxodonta cyclotis. However, the interactions between L. cyclotis and its current environmental conditions are less known. This study aims at determining the factors that affect the occupancy patterns of the species at TNP for guiding conservation decision-making. We assessed the species occupancy probability and factors that affect its distribution based on habitat variables and observations from 87 camera traps installed for 120 days within TNP. We used an occupancy model to determine the variables that significantly affect L. cyclotis distribution and to estimate their occupancy probability by site of camera traps installation. We also produced a predictive species distribution map by interpolating occupancy probability values at trapping sites. The key factors that drive the L. cyclotis distribution in the TNP were the distance to the nearest research or ecotourism areas, the distance to the periphery and the rate of poaching index of the installation site. Occupancy probability decreased with closer distance to the TNP periphery and increasing poaching pressures, while it increased with the proximity of research or ecotourism areas. The predictive distribution map indicated that the northwestern and southwestern areas of the TNP had a higher probability (p > 0.6) of L. cyclotis occurrence, compared to other parts of the Protected Area. These results confirm the positive effect of scientific research and ecotourism activities that favour L. cyclotis (and thus other wildlife) conservation. So those activities have to be promoted along with antipoaching strategies.


camera trap, distribution factor, elephant conservation, occupancy model, Protected Area

Artice information

Received: 27.01.2020. Revised: 12.12.2020. Accepted: 13.12.2020.

The full text of the article

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