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Müller-Rowold, Noé, 2017. Risky places and risky times : vegetation cover and carnivore olfactory cues influence patch selection and antipredator behavior of African ungulates. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies



Foraging behaviour and vigilance of African ungulates are considered to be influenced
by their perception of predation risk. In this experiment, I tried to obtain a better
understanding of the relative importance of spatial and temporal drivers of perceived
predation risk for African ungulates of various sizes. On 12 experimental plots located
in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (South Africa), I manipulated vegetation cover, and
applied scats of lions (Panthera leo) and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). I recorded
the number of visitations, the amount of time spent on plots, the group sizes, and the
proportion of time spent vigilant of mammalian herbivores. I found that on plots with
lion and African wild dog scats, small and intermediate-sized ungulates were more
vigilant, large and intermediate-sized ungulates aggregated in larger numbers, and
species of all size classes increased the amount of time they spent on plots. In the
absence of carnivore scats, woody cover only negatively influenced patch selection of
impala (Aepyceros melampus). However, in the presence of lion scats, woody cover
was avoided by ungulates of intermediate size, while impala increased their group size
and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) spent more time on wooded plots. On the other hand,
presence of African wild dog scats did not trigger or increase any antipredator
behaviour associated to woody cover. White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), who
represent nearly half of the park’s ungulate biomass, did not respond to either woody
cover nor carnivore scats. This study illustrates how perceived predation risk and
antipredator behaviour of African ungulates is influenced by body mass and an
interaction of spatial and temporal risk factors.

Main title:Risky places and risky times
Subtitle:vegetation cover and carnivore olfactory cues influence patch selection and antipredator behavior of African ungulates
Authors:Müller-Rowold, Noé
Supervisor:Cromsigt, Joris and de Boer, Fred and Le Roux, Elisabeth
Examiner:Spong, Göran
Series:Examensarbete i ämnet biologi / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2017:7
Year of Publication:2017
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:predation risk, African ungulates, savanna, visibility, scats, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, patch selection, large carnivore, hunting modes, vigilance, group size
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Deposited On:28 Jun 2017 09:10
Metadata Last Modified:28 Jun 2017 09:10

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