The effect of novel and familiar predator cues on prey vigilance and foraging behaviors in the greater khingan mountains, Inner Mongolia, China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

During periods of predation risk, prey adopt antipredator behaviours to maximise chances of survival, such as increased vigilance, reduced foraging time, shifting to safe habitat, and group formation. To effectively balance resource acquisition and antipredator behavior, prey animals make use of cues within their environment that provide them accurate information about the realistic threat of predation. Using camera traps, we tested vigilance and feeding behavioural responses of two naturally occurring ungulate species roe deer and moose to cues from naturally occurring brown bear and novel Amur tiger predators. We found that roe deer and moose vigilance and feeding behaviours were not affected by either visual or olfactory cues from predators, suggesting that ungulates in this system do not respond differently to novel predator cues. There are a number of potential explanations for this surprising lack of response to any predator cues: a) habituation to uninformative cues is important; b) ungulates might have relied more heavily on other cue types, such as auditory cues, or cues in combination; and, c) constraints on dispersal and/or resources may result in prey being forced to remain in high risk food patches, and continued prioritization of feeding over vigilance. We therefore, recommend that in the future studies regarding cues should involve a combination of cues at a similar location to increase predation risk to the animals to maximise prey response. To our knowledge, this is the first study to lay out the foundation of the ecological influences of captive Amur tiger on prey behaviors in the wild environment.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Northeast Forestry University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
  • Behavioral Sciences Biology

Keywords

  • Antipredator, Camera trap, Fear ecology, Foraging, Hanma, Predators, Ungulates, Vigilance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8219-8234
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Ecology and Environmental Research
Volume17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes