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Amboseli Ecosystem Context: Past and Present

Amboseli Ecosystem Context: Past and Present

(p.11) Chapter 2 Amboseli Ecosystem Context: Past and Present
The Amboseli Elephants
Harvey CrozeW. Keith Lindsay
University of Chicago Press

The Amboseli ecosystem is unique. No other place in Africa combines the special hydrology, topography, geology, and cultural history of Amboseli. Despite modest rainfall, a gently rolling bushland surrounding a system of swamps fed by the Kilimanjaro mountain forest catchment supports an array of birds and mammals, dominated in terms of biomass and visibility by a population of some 1,500 African elephants. At the heart of the ecosystem nestles Amboseli National Park, which for decades has been a major attractor for wildlife and tourism. In order to place the ecology, ranging, population dynamics, and sociality of the Amboseli elephants into the perspective of their habitat, this chapter describes (1) the variable and dynamic Amboseli ecosystem in general and (2) the broad habitat changes that have taken place over the past five decades (1957–2002), including assessments of changes in wildlife species numbers.

Keywords:   Amboseli ecosystem, African elephants, biomass, habitat change, wildlife species, ecology

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