Skip to content


Assessing Habitat Quality of the Mountain Nyala Tragelaphus Buxtoni in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia.

Populations of the endangered mountain nyala Tragelaphus buxtoni are significantly threatened by the loss of critical habitat. Population estimates are tentative, and information on the species’ distribution and available habitat is required for formulating immediate management and conservation strategies. To support management decisions and conservation priorities, we integrated information from a number of small-scale observational studies, interviews and reports from multiple sources to define habitat parameters and create a habitat quality model for mountain nyala in the Bale Mountains. For our analysis, we used the FunConn model, an expertise-based model that considers spatial relationships (i.e., patch size, distance) between the species and vegetation type, topography and disturbance to create a habitat quality surface. The habitat quality model showed that approximately 18,610 km2 (82.7% of our study area) is unsuitable or poor habitat for the mountain nyala, while 2,857 km2 (12.7%) and 1,026 km2 (4.6%) was ranked as good or optimal habitat, respectively. Our results not only reflected human induced habitat degradation, but also revealed an extensive area of intact habitat on the remote slopes of the Bale Mountain’s southern and southeastern escarpments. This study provides an example of the roles that expert knowledge can still play in modern geospatial modeling of wildlife habitat. New geospatial tools, such as the FunConn model, are readily available to wildlife managers and allow them to perform spatial analyses with minimal software, data and training requirements. This approach may be especially useful for species that are obscure to science or when field surveys are not practical [Current Zoology 58 (4): 525–535, 2012].

Data and Resources


Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Evangelista, Paul H., John Norman, and Paul Swartzinki.
Last Updated February 11, 2021, 21:34 (UTC)
Created November 10, 2020, 18:47 (UTC)
Stable Link
Date 2012-08-01
Publishing Body Current Zoology
Content Type Publications
Primary Category Environment
Sub Category Terrestrial
Country Name Ethiopia
Location-Region/City Bale Mountains
Location Latitude 6.8858
Location Longitude 39.7343