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wilddog

Risky-times-and-risky-places-interact-to-affect-prey-behavior

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Fascinating stuff! If I have understood correctly is there any theory about why stalking predators trigger a greater risk response than the coursing predators?  If I have understood incorrectly please be gentle! Is it too early to suggest any conclusions say for stocking numbers of predators in smaller areas? Also with lions being newish on the scene in a pride, has the response to them changed? Sorry for all the questions and thanks for publishing the article here @wilddog and @egilio

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@wilddog Thanks for posting this, I think you posted it within 1-2 hours of it being published!

@Towlersonsafari Interesting questions. It has been theorized that sit-and-wait hunters induce a higher non-consumptive-effect than coursing predators on the basis that if you encounter a cue of a sit-and-wait hunter, that should be highly indicative of danger. Whereas for a coursing predator who (more) actively searches for prey, the presence of a cue might not be such a good indicator of the predator actually being present as they roam widely. In this paper we measured vigilance as the risk response, but there are other ways prey allocate energy when encountering predators (flight for example). 

It would be interesting to compare fecundity rates of different prey animals in small game reserves which are similar in size and located close to each but have, or don't have, predators. 

The lion pride in Liuwa might be new, but lions have never been really absent, and during our study the lions were mostly together in one unit. The reaction of wildebeests to 1 lion is probably not much different to reaction of encountering multiple lions (apart from that they might be easier to detect).  

 

The paper is temporarily available at the following link: http://rdcu.be/tIjT  

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Thank you very much for your reply  @egilio do you think that prey have "safe distances" that they are prepared to allow predators to be outside, depending on the predator and the prey and presumably what the predator is doing? I suspect it is not as simple as that!  

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I'm sure they have a safe distance, but this distance is much shorter for a sit and wait hunter versus a courser. You'll often see impala actually approaching a leopard or lion, and keep their eyes on them. But for wild dogs they usually run much earlier. In this paper we measured vigilance, and not flight (which obviously is also a risk effect). There are interesting questions in the whole predator prey system which we only start to understand now. But if you think about it, both parties have been around each other for a long time, and very tuned in to each other, picking up clues we are not aware of yet. I once for example followed 2 wild dogs chasing 2 oribis. For several 100 meters they were right on the heels of 1 oribi, while the other was maybe 100 meters ahead and 100 meters to the left. Suddenly the dogs just switched to the oribi which was further away. Me and my colleague wondered what was going on, they nearly had this oribi and now they went for one which was much further away! They managed to bring down the other oribi and pulled out a fully grown calf, it was actually bleating when they pulled it out (and then was snatched away by a hyena). Clearly the dogs somehow picked up that they had a better chance on taking down the other oribi, something we had completely missed.

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Thanks for all this @egilio Fascinating.

 

I was lucky to have spotted the initial link on FB I think! Will you be producing any more papers as a result of your time in Liuwa? If so I hope you will keep us advised of them.

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