Predictors of elephant poaching in a wildlife crime hotspot: The Ruvuma landscape of southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique

Understanding the spatial distribution of elephant carcasses in relation to ecological characteristics and human activities is critical to developing targeted management strategies for reducing poaching. We employ a spatial modelling approach to quantify the relative contribution of multiple climatic, ecological, human and protected area management predictors of the number of elephant carcasses in a recognized poaching hotspot: the Ruvuma landscape of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. This includes the Niassa Reserve in the south and the Selous Game Reserve in the north. In Mozambique, the number of elephant carcasses is positively associated with State-managed protected areas such as Niassa Reserve, but particularly with environmental variables in-cluding low rainfall and high temperatures. In Tanzania, elephant carcasses are positively associated with community-managed sites. A strong focus on e?ective management of protected areas in the Ruvuma landscape is crucial to reducing the killing of elephants.