Database: The Impacts Of Light Pollution On Wildlife In Kenya & Eastern Africa

This database catalogues Kenyan wildlife species which areĀ  sensitive to changes in nocturnal light levels, and affected by artificial light at night.

AnimalLatin nameDiurnal/NocturnalEffects of Light PollutionSource
LionPanthera leoBothLions have higher hunting success on moonless nights when it's darker. Brightening of the night sky due to light pollution may reduce their hunting success by making them more visible to prey [1]. Lions don't display any changes in behaviour relative to full moon cycles, most likely because they are apex predators [2]. Just like to herbivores, African lions are most dangerous to humans when the moon is faint or below the horizon [3].Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
LeopardPanthera pardusBothLeopards in Kenya are one of many large felines in human-dominated landscapes around the world that avoid humans. Artificial nighttime lighting is seen as a sign of human activity, and leopards tend to avoid illuminated areas.Link
Black RhinoDiceros bicornisBothTypes of artificial light at night like skyglow and point source lights from outside of major protected areas may enable the orientation and navigation for poachers pursuing rhinos [1]. Rhinos also apparently exhibit more intrasocial behaviour in darkness [2].Link 1, Link 2
African ElephantLoxodonta africanaBothSolar-powered LED strobe lights deter African elephants from entering croplands.Link
BuffaloSyncerus cafferBothOn darker nights, buffalo are more likely to form herds, since grazing in groups could provide more safety from predators.Link
Spotted hyenaHyaena hyaenaNocturnalArtificial light at night had no impact on hyena diet or den distribution (this was studied in central Israel and needs to be further investigated on the ground) [1]. Hyena's show no variance in activity patterns with changing moonlight, likely because they are apex predators [2].Link 1, Link 2
African Wild DogLycaon pictusBothAlthough usually diurnal or crepuscular, African wild dogs hunt at night when the moon is bright, and may choose to be nocturnal in places where daytime temperatures increase.Link 1, Link 2
Burchell's zebraEquus burchelliiBothThese migratory zebras may avoid areas with light and noise pollution as they signify high concentrations of human activity.Link
Plains ZebraEquus quaggaDiurnalPlains zebras are sometimes active before moonrise, maybe in an effort to be unpredictable to lions.Link
Cape HareLepus capensisNocturnalThese hares exhibit freezing or fleeing behaviours in response to lit areas or lights from cars on roadsLink
Common WildebeestConnochaetes taurinusBothWildebeest tend to hide during dark nights, and as nights get brighter, they are more likely to move into dangerous places where they may encounter lions [1]. These migratory wildebeest may avoid areas with light and noise pollution as they signify high concentrations of human activity [2].Link 1, Link 2
Thomson's GazelleEudorcas thomsoniiDiurnalGazelles show increased activity after the moon comes up [1]. These gazelles are migratory and may avoid areas with light and noise pollution as they signify high concentrations of human activity [2].Link 1, Link 2
African dung beetleScarabeus satyrusNocturnalWhile dung beetles can't see individual stars, they navigate by orienting themselves to the Milky Way, which appears as a luminous streak to them, and they move in a straight line relative to it.n They are the first known species to do this.Link
Cape serotine batLaephotis capensisNocturnalThese bats consume six times more moths in artificially lit conditions compared to in naturally dark ones.Link