Spatial Patterns of Primate Electrocutions in Diani, Kenya

Lydia Katsis, Pamela M.K. Cunneyworth, Katy M.E. Turner*, Andrea Presotto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


Electrocution from power infrastructure threatens many primate species, yet knowledge of effective evidence-based mitigation strategies is limited. Mitigation planning requires an understanding of the spatial distribution of electrocutions to prioritize high-risk areas. In Diani, a coastal Kenyan town, electrocution is an important cause of death for five primate species. In this study we aim to describe the spatial patterns of electrocutions and electric shock incidents (collectively referred to as electrocutions hereafter) and identify electrocution hotspots to guide an effective primate conservation approach in Diani. Colobus Conservation, a not-for-profit organization, has recorded electrocutions and annual primate census data since 1998. We georeferenced 329 electrocution data points and analyzed them using QGIS. We identified and compared hotspots across species, seasons, and time using kernel density estimation and Getis-Ord-Gi*. We employed spatial regression models to test whether primate population density and power line density predicted the location of electrocution hotspots. Electrocutions occurred in hotspots that showed little variation in location between species and seasons. The limited variation in hotspot location over time likely occurred as a result of new building development in Diani and variability in primate detection rates by community members. Primate density and power line density were significant predictors of electrocution density for Angolan black-and-white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis albogularis), but the relationship was weak, suggesting the presence of additional risk factors. This study provides a framework for systematic spatial prioritization of power lines that can be used to reduce primate electrocutions in Diani, and can be adopted in other areas of the world where primates are at risk from electrocution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-510
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Electrocution
  • GIS
  • Hotspots
  • Power lines
  • Spatial analysis


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