Individual and Population Level Resource Selection Patterns of Mountain Lions Preying on Mule Deer along an Urban-Wildland GradientReportar como inadecuado




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Understanding population and individual-level behavioral responses of large carnivores to human disturbance is important for conserving top predators in fragmented landscapes. However, previous research has not investigated resource selection at predation sites of mountain lions in highly urbanized areas. We quantified selection of natural and anthropogenic landscape features by mountain lions at sites where they consumed their primary prey, mule deer Odocoileus hemionus, in and adjacent to urban, suburban, and rural areas in greater Los Angeles. We documented intersexual and individual-level variation in the environmental conditions present at mule deer feeding sites relative to their availability across home ranges. Males selected riparian woodlands and areas closer to water more than females, whereas females selected developed areas marginally more than males. Females fed on mule deer closer to developed areas and farther from riparian woodlands than expected based on the availability of these features across their home ranges. We suggest that mortality risk for females and their offspring associated with encounters with males may have influenced the different resource selection patterns between sexes. Males appeared to select mule deer feeding sites mainly in response to natural landscape features, while females may have made kills closer to developed areas in part because these are alternative sites where deer are abundant. Individual mountain lions of both sexes selected developed areas more strongly within home ranges where development occurred less frequently. Thus, areas near development may represent a trade-off for mountain lions such that they may benefit from foraging near development because of abundant prey, but as the landscape becomes highly urbanized these benefits may be outweighed by human disturbance.



Autor: John F. Benson , Jeff A. Sikich, Seth P. D. Riley

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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