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Divergent tree radial growth at alpine coniferous forest ecotone and corresponding responses to climate change in northwestern China. Wang X, Yang B. Ecological Indicators 2021 Feb
Global climate change is reshaping the geographical distribution of forests, especially in mountain regions. The alpine forest ecotone is expected to be affected first, due to the climatic limitations on tree growth, and is thus considered as an indicator of the forest succession to climate change. However, current studies involving tree radial growth and their responses to climate change at alpine forest ecotone remain scarce, posing challenges for predictions of forest dynamics and management strategies under different climate scenarios. Here, we studied 94 Chinese Pine (Pinus tabulaeformis; Pinaceae) and 86 Qinghai Spruce (Picea crassifolia; Pinaceae) trees along the alpine forest ecotone [2100–2400 m above sea level (a.s.l.)] to assess tree growth differences and corresponding responses to climate change in the Helan Mountains, northwestern China. The results revealed that growth rates of Chinese Pine at lowest altitudes and Qinghai Spruce at highest altitudes are strongly affected by water shortage and intraspecific competition, respectively, leading to the tree growth in these regions are inferior to those of other trees in the ecotone (the tree age at maximum width is about 20 years later than in the ecotone), especially for seedling and sapling stages. The responses of tree radial growth to dryness were broadly similar in each sample site, but wetness was more positive in trees at low altitudes than at high altitudes. Climate warming has inhibited the radial growth of Qinghai Spruce at lower distribution limits since 2005, while for Chinese Pine in the same area was not significantly affected by rising temperature, and even the upper limits of the Chinese Pine might migrate to higher altitudes as the calorific limit becomes higher. If climate warming continues, the above process may erode the Qinghai Spruce habitat, resulting in the transitional zone between Chinese Pine and Qinghai Spruce also moving to higher elevations.
Large carnivore hunting and the social license to hunt. Darimont CT, Hall H, Eckert L, Mihalik I, Artelle K, Treves A, Paquet PC.Conservation Biology. 2020 Oct
The Social License to Operate framework considers how society grants or withholds informal permission for resource extractors to exploit publicly owned resources. Here we offer a modified model, referred to as Social License to Hunt (SLH). In it we similarly consider hunters as “operators” who exploit wildlife, which are legally considered public resources in North America and Europe. We illustrate the SLH through the controversial hunting of large carnivores, which are frequently killed for trophy. We argue how this behaviour, widespread but undertaken by a minority of hunters, can pose existential threats to the SLH for the larger group of hunters who hunt for food. Drawing on a history of representative democratic processes that have sought to ban large carnivore hunting in the United States over past decades, we explain how opposition to large carnivore hunting by societal “stakeholders” relates to not only conservation concerns but also misalignment with dominant public values and attitudes. By offering several contemporary case studies, we describe how opposition to large carnivore hunting, expressed primarily on social media, can now exert rapid and effective pressure on policy makers and politicians. We discuss evidence of, and potential for, transformative change to wildlife management and conservation. Additionally, we identify research gaps and predict responses by policy makers and advocates for and against hunting. More broadly, we illustrate how SLH provides a conceptual foundation for predicting the likelihood of transient versus enduring changes to wildlife conservation policy and practice for a wide variety of taxa and contexts.
Article impact statement: A social license to hunt model can help conservationists and the public understand how opposition to carnivore hunting can affect policy.
There is no Dingo dilemma: legislation facilitates culling, containment and conservation of Dingoes in New South Wales. Fleming PJ, Ballard G, Cutter N.Australian Zoologist. 2020 Oct
The perceived dilemma about Dingoes overly simplifies a complex “wicked problem”. Similarly, it is simplistic to suggest that to “cull, contain or conserve” Dingoes are mutually exclusive options or are the only options for managing Dingoes at a state-wide level. The legal instruments enacted and implemented in New South Wales (NSW) attempt to accommodate conflicting values, impacts and drivers. Since the first Dingo symposium in 1999, there has been a series of legislative changes pertaining to Dingo management. That legislation, and associated regulation and policy, addresses the management of Dingoes and other free-roaming dogs such that the dilemma is perceived rather than actual. The main new legal operand in New South Wales is the Biosecurity Act 2015, but other States have similar legislation. Here we outline the application of this Act and others to the management of Dingoes in NSW and conclude that they can be variously culled, contained and conserved, within and across large landscapes, depending on context and managers’ objectives
Whole-genome sequencing of Tarim red deer (Cervus elaphus yarkandensis) reveals demographic history and adaptations to an arid-desert environment. Ababaikeri B, Abduriyim S, Tohetahong Y, Mamat T, Ahmat A, Halik M.Frontiers in Zoology. 2020 Dec;
The initiation of desert conditions in the Tarim Basin in China since the late Miocene has led to the significant genetic structuring of local organisms. Tarim Red Deer (Cervus elaphus yarkandensis, TRD) have adapted to the harsh environmental conditions in this basin, including high solar radiation and temperature, aridity, and poor nutritional conditions. However, the underlying genetic basis of this adaptation is poorly understood.
We sequenced the whole genomes of 13 TRD individuals, conducted comparative genomic analyses, and estimated demographic fluctuation. The ∂a∂i model estimated that the TRD and Tule Elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) populations diverged approximately 0.98 Mya. Analyses revealed a substantial influence of the Earth’s climate on the effective population size of TRD, associated with glacial advances and retreat, and human activities likely underlie a recent serious decline in population. A marked bottleneck may have profoundly affected the genetic diversity of TRD populations. We detected a set of candidate genes, pathways, and GO categories related to oxidative stress, water reabsorption, immune regulation, energy metabolism, eye protection, heat stress, respiratory system adaptation, prevention of high blood pressure, and DNA damage and repair that may directly or indirectly be involved in the adaptation of TRD to an arid-desert environment.
Our analyses highlight the role of historical global climates in the population dynamics of TRD. In light of ongoing global warming and the increasing incidence of droughts, our study offers insights into the genomic adaptations of animals, especially TRD, to extreme arid-desert environments and provides a valuable resource for future research on conservation design and biological adaptations to environmental change.
Denning phenology and reproductive success of wolves in response to climate signals. Mahoney PJ, Joly K, Borg BL, Sorum MS, Rinaldi TA, Saalfeld D, Golden H, Latham AD, Kelly AP, Mangipane B, Koizumi CL.Environmental Research Letters. 2020 Oct
Arctic and boreal ecosystems are experiencing rapid changes in temperature and precipitation regimes. Subsequent shifts in seasonality can lead to a mismatch between the timing of resource availability and species’ life-history events, known as phenological or trophic mismatch. Although mismatch has been shown to negatively affect some northern animal populations, longer-term impacts across large regions remain unknown. In addition, animals may rely on climate cues during preceding seasons to time key life history events such as reproduction, but the reliability of these cues as indicators of subsequent resource availability has not been examined. We used remote sensing and gridded spatial data to evaluate the effect of climate factors on the reproductive phenology and success of a wide-ranging carnivore, the gray wolf (Canis lupus). We used GPS location data from 388 wolves to estimate den initiation dates(n = 47227 dens within 106 packs) and reproductive success in eight populations across northwestern North America from 2000-2017. Spring onset shifted 14.2 days earlier, on average, during the 18-year period, but the regional mean date of denning did not change. Preceding winter temperature was the strongest climatic predictor of denning phenology, with higher temperatures advancing the timing of denning. Winter temperature was also one the strongest and most reliable indicators of the timing of spring onset. Reproductive success was not affected by timing of denning or synchrony with spring onset, but improved during cooler summers and following relatively dry autumns. Our findings highlight a disconnect between climate factors that affect phenology and those that affect demography, suggesting that carnivores may be resilient to shifts 56in seasonality and yet sensitive to weather conditions affecting their prey at both local and 5=regional scales.These insights regarding the relationship between climate and carnivore demography should improve predictions of climate warming effects on the highest trophic levels.
Wolf habitat selection in relation to recreational structures in a national park. Malcolm K, Cheveau M, St-Laurent MH.Journal of Mammalogy. 2020 Oct
Although most predators usually avoid human activity, some individuals instead will habituate to it. Habituation to human presence and infrastructure by predator species such as wolves may lead to conflicts implicating serious risks for public safety and for the survival of the animals involved. Accordingly, this research project aims to shed light on the relationship between wolves and recreational structures using telemetry data from 10 wolves located in the Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (Québec, Canada) and its surrounding area. Using resource selection functions (RSFs), we observed wolf habitat selection in relation to these structures during three biological periods (denning: May–June; rendezvous: June–October; and nomadic: October–April). Our results revealed that wolves selected proximity to linear structures (roads and trails) during the denning and rendezvous periods, but this selection depended on the density of such structures in the surroundings (i.e., functional response in habitat selection): wolves selected proximity to linear structures when these structures were present at greater densities. Wolves avoided housing structures (campsites, cabins, park facilities), especially when these structures were present at greater densities, suggesting that wolves perceived them as a risk. These results suggest that conflicts between visitors and wolves were unlikely to occur in campgrounds during the time of our study. This could indicate that the management measures implemented by the park following the past episodes of conflict were effective. However, wolves’ use of linear structures could lead to increased tolerance to human proximity if left unmanaged.
Multiple factors influence local perceptions of snow leopards and Himalayan wolves in the central Himalayas, Nepal. Chetri M, Odden M, Devineau O, McCarthy T, Wegge P.PeerJ. 2020 Oct
An understanding of local perceptions of carnivores is important for conservation and management planning. In the central Himalayas, Nepal, we interviewed 428 individuals from 85 settlements using a semi-structured questionnaire to quantitatively assess local perceptions and tolerance of snow leopards and wolves. We used generalized linear mixed effect models to assess influential factors, and found that tolerance of snow leopards was much higher than of wolves. Interestingly, having experienced livestock losses had a minor impact on perceptions of the carnivores. Occupation of the respondents had a strong effect on perceptions of snow leopards but not of wolves. Literacy and age had weak impacts on snow leopard perceptions, but the interaction among these terms showed a marked effect, that is, being illiterate had a more marked negative impact among older respondents. Among the various factors affecting perceptions of wolves, numbers of livestock owned and gender were the most important predictors. People with larger livestock herds were more negative towards wolves. In terms of gender, males were more positive to wolves than females, but no such pattern was observed for snow leopards. People’s negative perceptions towards wolves were also related to the remoteness of the villages. Factors affecting people’s perceptions could not be generalized for the two species, and thus need to be addressed separately. We suggest future conservation projects and programs should prioritize remote settlements.
Postmortem Findings in Captive Sand Gazelle and Arabian Oryx at Al-Wusta Wildlife Reserve, Oman. Goraya K, ALRawahi Q, ALBalushi S, ALSaadi H, ALRahbi S, ALAlawi Z, Hussain MH, Hussain M.2020 Oct
Al-Wusta Wildlife Reserve (WWR) is the first wildlife reserve in Oman. It was established in 1980 for reintroduction and breeding of the Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) and recently other wildlife, which includes the Arabian gazelle (Gazelle gazelle cora) and Sand gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa marica). These antelopes are only kept in a few countries worldwide. Therefore, only limited information is available on their husbandry requirements and diseases occurring in these species. This study aimed to evaluate the causes of mortalities at WWR. During July to October 2019, fifty mortalities were observed at WWR. These mortalities consisted of 10 Arabian oryx and 40 Sand gazelles. All carcasses were subjected to the detailed post-mortem (PM) examination to find out the potential cause of death. Fatal injuries caused by fighting were the major cause of deaths (n=17, 34%) followed by cyclone related deaths (n=10, 20%), pneumonia (n=8, 16%), old age (n=4, 8%), impaction of stomach caused by foreign bodies (n=3, 6%) and bloat (n=2, 4%). The exact cause of death could not be established in 5 (10%) mortalities. Internal organs were screened for the presence of adult worms. However, no parasite was observed in these animals. These findings demonstrated that more than 50% mortalities could be reduced by only controlling aggression-related injuries and taking precautionary measures against natural disasters like a cyclone. On the other hand, the absence of internal worms could be related to good husbandry conditions at WWR.
Burrowing and Anti-Predator Requirements Determine the Microhabitat Selection of Himalayan Marmot in Zoige Wetland C Guo, S Gao, S Zhou, L Zhang, Z Xiang – Zoological Science, 2020
To satisfy their requirements for food and safety, animals need certain habitats to live. Marmots generally select habitats with certain elevation, land surface temperature, soil and vegetation type, and certain mountain slope and aspect; however, what habitats are needed at relatively smaller scales are poorly known. The Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana) is distributed mainly on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a region exhibiting diversified topographic features, and the Zoige wetland in the northeast part of the plateau is also the home of the Himalayan marmot. The region is famous for its plateau peat bog, and the suitable habitats for Himalayan marmots are patchily distributed in the wetland. To investigate what kinds of patches are preferred by the marmot in this wetland ecosystem, we measured and compared the soil and vegetation characteristics of used and unused patches. We found that unlike factors governing the habitat selection at macroscales, patches characterized by flat ground and low soil moisture content, with medium vegetation standing height and low vegetation density, are selected in the Zoige wetland. Patches of this kind are selected to meet the marmots’ requirements for burrow construction and predator avoidance in such a wetland ecosystem. Together with previous studies on habitat selection of the marmot species at macroscales, we showed that to explore how the animals survive in an environment, it is important to conduct the analysis at multiple scales.
Beyond “donors and recipients”: impacts of species gains and losses reverberate among ecosystems due to changes in resource subsidies. Collins SF, Baxter CV.InContaminants and Ecological Subsidies 2020
Pervasive environmental degradation has altered biodiversity at a global scale. At smaller scales, species extirpations, invasions, and replacements have greatly influenced how ecosystems function and interact by affecting the exchanges of energy, materials, and organisms. In this chapter, we examine how a variety of environmental stressors, and associated species losses and gains, change the exchange of resources (materials or organisms) within and among ecosystems. We specifically consider how changes that occur within an ecosystem may trigger effects that reverberate (e.g., directly, indirectly, and via feedbacks) back and forth across ecological boundaries and propagate to other ecosystems connected via exchanges of materials and organisms. Our synthesis provides cursory overviews of ecosystem “openness” as it has been addressed by community ecologists and the conceptual development of ecological frameworks used to examine resource exchanges between ecosystems. We then describe four case studies and examine how species losses and gains affect food web structure via resource exchanges between ecosystems, with particular emphasis on effects spanning land-water boundaries. Finally, we discuss the need for more complex conceptual treatment of the interconnectedness of food webs among ecosystems.
The Elusive Dingo Shipman, Pat. American Scientist 2020 Sep/Oct
Neither quite domesticated nor entirely wild, these canids defy easy zoological categorization.
Dingoes, the iconic “yellow dogs” of Australia, are deeply embedded in a great deal of folklore, literature, songs, poems, dances, and Indigenous art of the island continent. They figure prominently in traditional Aboriginal narratives, called Dreamtime, about the creation of the world and society. In Dreamtime narratives, dingoes are often equated with humans who have special supernatural powers and illustrate important moral principles. But despite their cultural importance, today the animals’ evolutionary identity remains obscure.
DIRECT OBSERVATIONS OF A WOLVERINE SCAVENGING AT AN ACTIVE GRAY WOLF KILL SITE. WALLACE, C.F., GOLLA, J.M. and ALLEN, M.L., 2020
Scavenging carrion is an important source of nutrition for Wolverines (Gulo gulo)who a re facultative scavengers. Other large carnivores, particularly Gray Wolves (Canis lupus), may compete with and exclude Wolverines from carrion or pose a risk of death or injury to Wolverines attempting to utilize these resources. We used a video-camera trap to document a Wolverine scavenging an Elk (Cervus elaphus) being actively consumed by a Gray Wolf in Idaho. The Wolverine investigated the kill, fed, scent marked, and removed pieces of the carcass to cache at other sites. Between the second and third visit by the Wolverine, a wolf returns to feed at the kill. These observations establish that Wolverines do not necessarily avoid kills when Gray Wolves are present and that species interactions are more complex than generally thought.
Adult, intensively socialized wolves show features of attachment behaviour to their handler. Lenkei R, Újváry D, Bakos V, Faragó T.Scientific Reports. 2020 Oct
Dogs’ attachment towards humans might be the core of their social skillset, yet the origins of their ability to build such a bond are still unclear. Here we show that adult, hand-reared wolves, similarly to dogs, form individualized relationship with their handler. During separation from their handler, wolves, much like family dogs, showed signs of higher-level stress and contact seeking behaviour, compared to when an unfamiliar person left them. They also used their handler as a secure base, suggesting that the ability to form interspecific social bonds could have been present already in the common ancestor of dogs and wolves. We propose that their capacity to form at least some features of attachment with humans may stem from the ability to form social bond with pack members. This might have been then re-directed to humans during early domestication, providing the basis for the evolution of other socio-cognitive abilities in dogs.
The effects of prey size on carnivore tooth mark morphologies on bone; the case study of Canis lupus signatus. Courtenay LA, Yravedra J, Maté-González MÁ, Vázquez-Rodríguez JM, Fernández-Fernández M, González-Aguilera D.Historical Biology. 2020 Oct
Carnivore feeding behaviour is a valuable line of research of increasing value in taphonomic analyses. An interesting component of these studies lies in the differentiation of carnivore activity based on tooth marks left on bone. Among the methodological approaches available, a major protagonist in recent years has been the incorporation of hybrid geometric morphometric studies with artificially intelligent algorithms, reaching over 95% accuracy in some cases. In spite of this recent success, a number of methodological questions are still to be answered for wide-scale application of these techniques into other applied fields of science. One of these questions lies in the possible variability induced by prey size on tooth-mark morphologies. Here we compile data regarding these effects, using the Iberian wolf as a relevant case study in both contemporary and prehistoric European and North American ecology. The methodology employed opens new questions regarding carnivore tooth marks that should consider the effects of mastication biomechanics. While in most cases prey size is not a significant conditioning factor, caution is advised for future experimentation when considering small prey where some statistical noise may be present. Nevertheless, future experimentation into other carnivore case studies can be considered a valuable research goal.
Longevity in a hunted population of reintroduced American Bison (Bison bison). Jung TS. Mammal Research. 2020 Oct
The effectiveness of conditioned aversion in wolves: Insights from experimental tests.Tobajas J, Ruiz-Aguilera MJ, López-Bao JV, Ferreras P, Mateo R.Behavioural Processes. 2020 Oct
It has been suggested that conditioned food aversion (CFA) could be a potential non-lethal intervention by which to deter attacks on livestock by large carnivores. CFA occurs when an animal associates the characteristics of a food with an illness, thus rejecting that food in subsequent encounters. CFA can be associated with an artificial odour during conditioning. Despite the debate surrounding the use of this intervention, more studies evaluating the effectiveness of CFA are necessary. We experimentally evaluated the potential of microgranulated levamisole + a vanilla odour cue to induce CFA in captive Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus). Four out of the five wolves treated showed an aversion to the meat for a minimum of one month after conditioning. The microgranulated presentation masked the flavour and smell of the levamisole but increased its volume, which may have facilitated its detection by the wolves. We also observed that the strength of the odour played an important role in the aversion extinction. The use of microgranulated levamisole + an odour cue has the potential to be used as an intervention by which to induce aversive conditioning in wolves in the wild, although rigorous field tests are required. We discuss the potential of CFA to deter attacks on livestock by large carnivores.
Fighting like cats and dogs? Dingoes do not constrain spatial and temporal movements of feral cats. Kreplins TL, Kennedy MS, O’Leary RA, Adams PJ, Dundas SJ, Fleming PA.Food Webs. 2020 Oct
Azure-winged magpies’ decisions to share food are contingent on the presence or absence of food for the recipient.Massen JJ, Haley SM, Bugnyar T. Scientific RepoRtS. 2020 Sep
Helping others is a key feature of human behavior. However, recent studies render this feature not uniquely human, and describe discoveries of prosocial behavior in non-human primates, other social mammals, and most recently in some bird species. Nevertheless, the cognitive underpinnings of this prosociality; i.e., whether animals take others’ need for help into account, often remain obscured. In this study, we take a first step in investigating prosociality in azure-winged magpies by presenting them with the opportunity to share highly desired food with their conspecifics i) in a situation in which these conspecifics had no such food, ii) in a situation in which they too had access to that highly desired food, and iii) in an open, base-line, situation where all had equal access to the same food and could move around freely. We find that azure-winged magpies regularly share high-value food items, preferably with, but not restricted to, members of the opposite sex. Most notably, we find that these birds, and specifically the females, seem to differentiate between whether others have food or do not have food, and subsequently cater to that lack. Begging calls by those without food seem to function as cues that elicit the food-sharing, but the response to that begging is condition-dependent. Moreover, analyses on a restricted dataset that excluded those events in which there was begging showed exactly the same patterns, raising the possibility that the azure-winged magpies might truly notice when others have access to fewer resources (even in the absence of vocal cues). This sharing behavior could indicate a high level of social awareness and prosociality that should be further investigated. Further studies are needed to establish the order of intentionality at play in this system, and whether azure-winged magpies might be able to attribute desire states to their conspecifics.
Understanding people’s responses toward predators in the Indian Himalaya. Bhatia S, Suryawanshi K, Redpath SM, Mishra C.Animal Conservation. 2020 Sep.
Research on human–wildlife interactions has largely focused on the magnitude of wildlife‐caused damage, and the patterns and correlates of human attitudes and behaviors. We assessed the role of five pathways through which various correlates potentially influence human responses toward wild animals, namely, value orientation, social interactions (i.e. social cohesion and support), dependence on resources such as agriculture and livestock, risk perception and nature of interaction with the wild animal. We specifically evaluated their influence on people’s responses toward two large carnivores, the snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus in an agropastoral landscape in the Indian Trans‐Himalaya. We found that the nature of the interaction (location, impact and length of time since an encounter or depredation event), and risk perception (cognitive and affective evaluation of the threat posed by the animal) had a significant influence on attitudes and behaviors toward the snow leopard. For wolves, risk perception and social interactions (the relationship of people with local institutions and inter‐community dynamics) were significant. Our findings underscore the importance of interventions that reduce people’s threat perceptions from carnivores, improve their connection with nature and strengthen the conservation capacity of local institutions especially in the context of wolves.
In the Shadow of the Wolf: Wildlife Conflict and Land Use Politics in the New West (Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley). Martin, J.V., 2020.
Considering Pleistocene North American wolves and coyotes in the eastern Canis origin story. Wilson P, Rutledge LY.Authorea Preprints. 2020 Sep
Comparison of Woodland Caribou Calving Areas Determined by Movement Patterns Across Northern Ontario. Walker PD, Rodgers AR, Shuter JL, Thompson ID, Fryxell JM, Cook JG, Cook RC, Merrill EH.The Journal of Wildlife Management. 2020
Tolerance Behavior in Coyotes (Canis Latrans), a Flexible Urban Predator (Doctoral dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder). Beam, E.R., 2020
Fossoriality in a risky landscape: badger sett use varies with perceived wolf risk. Diserens TA, Bubnicki JW, Schutgens E, Rokx K, Kowalczyk R, Kuijper DP, Churski M.Journal of Zoology. 2020 Oct
Many medium‐sized carnivores are fossorial and use burrow systems to reduce predation risk or avoid predators. But fossorial species cannot stay safely underground forever, and they must also risk emerging overground, to forage and find mates. To make this trade‐off effectively and maximize their own fitness, it is imperative they assess how predation risk varies in space and time, and adapt their denning behaviour accordingly. We used European badger (Meles meles) burrows (setts) in Białowieża Forest, Poland as a model for investigating how the denning behaviour of a fossorial mesocarnivore varies across gradients of landscape scale perceived risk imposed by wolves (Canis lupus) and humans, defined as wolf space use and distance to settlements, respectively. We monitored seventeen setts with varying levels of perceived human and wolf risk with camera traps for two months to study three denning behaviours: frequency of badger sett use, frequency of badger sett sharing with other mesocarnivore species and badger emergence time. Frequency of sett use varied relative to perceived wolf but not human risk. Setts in the highest risk areas were used ca. 60% less often than those in the lowest perceived risk areas, and setts with juveniles were only present in areas of lower perceived risk. Food availability, quantified as earthworm abundance in an area of 2.1 km2 around setts, did not affect the frequency setts were used. Emergence time and frequency of sett sharing with other mesocarnivores, which have been proposed to be anti‐predator strategies, did not vary with either perceived risk factor. These results show fossorial species can adapt their use of burrows to the prevailing risk landscape and suggest burrows deserve more attention in studies on the ecological impacts of apex predators.
How do forest management and wolf space-use affect diet composition of the wolf’s main prey, the red deer versus a non-prey species, the European Bison?. Churski M, Spitzer R, Coissac E, Taberlet P, Lescinskaite J, van Ginkel HA, Kuijper DP, Cromsigt JP.Forest Ecology and Management.;2021 Jan
We analyzed the effect of forest management and wolf (Canis lupus) space-use on diet composition of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and European Bison (Bison bonasus) in Białowieża Primeval Forest (BPF), Poland. The red deer is the main prey species for the wolf, whereas the European Bison is rarely preyed upon. As both species behave as intermediate feeders in BPF, we expected a large overlap in their diet composition. The red deer perceives the risk of wolf predation; thus, we hypothesized that its diet would change in relation to the intensity of wolf space-use, whereas Bison’s would not. We compared diet composition between two contrasting management regimes: a national park managed as a protected area (no hunting, no forestry activities, restricted tourism), and an adjacent production forest managed for timber growth and extraction, where hunting on ungulates (but not wolves) does occur. We collected dung pellets of Bison and red deer along transects in low and high wolf-use areas (with distance to settlements as proxy for wolf space-use) in both management types and analyzed diet composition using DNA-metabarcoding. In the national park both the Bison and red deer had higher proportions of broadleaved tree species in their diet (Bison 39%, red deer 42%) than in the managed forest (Bison 26%, red deer 28%). The Bison diet contained a higher proportion of shrubs, and specifically Rubus in the managed forest (shrubs 29%, Rubus 31%), compared to the national park (shrubs 21%, Rubus 8%). Only in the national park, red deer ate relatively more broadleaved tree species (51%) and fewer forbs (23%) in the high wolf-use area than in the low wolf-use area (33% broadleaved trees versus 37% forbs). Bison showed a qualitatively similar shift in diet composition as red deer, but the shift was not significant and also much smaller in extent. Our results indicate that forest management shapes the diet composition of both ungulate species. In addition, red deer showed larger shifts in diet composition than Bison in high versus low wolf-use areas. This suggests that in addition to habitat differences, predation risk also plays a role in shaping the red deer diet. While earlier studies in BPF illustrated that wolves affect fine-scale deer foraging behavior, this study suggests this could potentially lead to changes in diet composition. We present alternative explanations for these diet shifts and urge others to look further into predation risk as a possible driver of dietary shifts in red deer.
Assessing the regional landscape connectivity for multispecies to coordinate on-the-ground needs for mitigating linear infrastructure impact in Brasov–Prahova region. Fedorca A, Popa M, Jurj R, Ionescu G, Ionescu O, Fedorca M.Journal for Nature Conservation. 2020 Sep
Agent-based models predict patterns and identify constraints of large carnivore recolonizations, a case study of wolves in Scandinavia MR Recio, A Singer, P Wabakken, H Sand – Biological Conservation, 2020 Nov
Large carnivores are recolonizing areas of their historical range in Europe. This process has strong implications for conservation and management related to human-wildlife conflicts. Analyses and modelling of the observed mechanisms of spatial expansion can predict recolonization patterns under human influences. We demonstrate how spatially-explicit, agent-based models can assist to identify and predict how humans impact shape large carnivore recolonizations. Using detailed data obtained through long-term surveillance of wolf territories, we identified the mechanisms of recolonization and predicted the spatio-temporal patterns of expansion of the wolf in the Scandinavian Peninsula. We disentangled the observed mechanisms of expansion to develop WolVES (Wolf Virtual Expansion Simulator), an agent-based model software. We applied the model to investigate in silico the observed lack of wolf recolonization into the suitable but densely human-populated area of southern Sweden and projected the expansion into the future. We tested the impact of traffic barriers and territory termination (wolf mortality most likely due to culling and poaching) on the observed recolonization in the south. Simulations identified that traffic infrastructures impacted only at configurations of insurmountable barriers unlikely to occur in Scandinavia, while low rates of territory termination had a major impact on the recolonization. Simulating until 2030 predicts that wolves will not colonize southern Sweden, which highlights the complexities of this process in areas of increased human-influence. The capability of simulators to test hypotheses and discriminate constraints of future population development makes them a valuable tool for ecologists, managers, and decision-makers involved in regional and transboundary conservation challenges of large carnivore recolonizations.
Wolves without borders: Transboundary survival of wolves in Banff National Park over three decades M Hebblewhite, J Whittington – Global Ecology and Conservation, 2020 Dec
Major Regional Grasslands in China L Li, J Chen, X Han, W Zhang, C Shao – Grassland Ecosystems of China, 2020 Sep
Biodiversity, Conservation, and Environmental Management in the Great Lakes Basin DJ Robertson – Natural Areas Journal, 2020 Sep
A cat in paradise: hunting and feeding behaviour of Eurasian lynx among abundant naive prey M Duľa, M Krofel – Mammalian Biology, 2020 Sep
Phenotypic variation and promiscuity in a wild population of pure dingoes (Canis dingo).Tatler J, Prowse TA, Roshier DA, Cairns KM, Cassey P.Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 2020 Sep
Relative influence of wild prey and livestock abundance on carnivore‐caused livestock predation G Khanal, C Mishra, K Ramesh Suryawanshi – Ecology and Evolution 2020 Aug
Dirofilaria immitis in wolves recolonizing northern Italy: are wolves competent hosts?. PMoroni B, Rossi L, Meneguz PG, Orusa R, Zoppi S, Robetto S, Marucco F, Tizzani P.arasites & Vectors. 2020 Dec
Development of D-Loop mitochondrial markers for amplification of prey DNA from wolf scat H Schroeder, S Palczewski, B Degen – Conservation Genetics Resources, 2020 Sep
On the reappearance of the Indian grey wolf in Bangladesh after 70 years: what do we know?. Akash M, Chowdhury UF, Reza RN, Howlader DC, Islam MR, Khan H.Mammalian Biology. 2020 Sep
The Indian grey wolf, Canis lupus pallipes Sykes, 1831, is a small, cryptic subspecies and the only wolf living in arid plains and deserts of the Indian subcontinent. Since 1950, it has been considered extinct beyond 88° east longitude. Herein, we report an instance from Bangladesh after 70 years. A solitary male of C. l. pallipes was killed in retaliation in June 2019 as livestock predation events erupted and lasted for a month after a severe cyclone had swept coastal Bangladesh. The specimen was about 119 cm from nose to tail tip with a skull length of 26.23 cm. Two molecular markers, mt d-loop control region and 16S rRNA, and 54 cranial parameters consolidated the identity. Bayesian inference and maximum-likelihood analyses indicated its intraspecies position. The locality of conflict, 450 km eastward of the easternmost population of C. l. pallipes, is adjacent to the Sundarbans in the Ganges estuary that presents formidable tidal rivers as dispersal barriers. In 2017, another wolf was sighted from the Indian Sundarbans vicinity. The present incident and the sighting of 2017 remarkably appeared from the farthest corners of a 10,000 km2 strong mangrove network that is rimmed by dense human settlements. The records surmise about the most challenging wolf dispersal route ever recorded. Additionally, the south-central coasts of Bangladesh, once home to wolves, bear old planted mangroves with open dunes but never surveyed for mammals. These facts necessitate a systematic camera-trapping in the coastal mangroves of Bangladesh exclusively intended for wolves.
An assessment of sampling designs using SCR analyses to estimate abundance of boreal caribou. McFarlane S, Manseau M, Steenweg R, Hervieux D, Hegel T, Slater S, Wilson PJ.Ecology and Evolution. 2020 Sep
Attitudes of the General Public and Hunters Towards Wolves in Latvia; Its Predictors and Changes Over Time. Žunna A, Bagrade G, Ozoliņš J.InProceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B. Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences. 2020 Aug
A survey was carried out to determine the attitudes of the general public and of hunters towards wolves (Canis lupus) in Latvia. Today wildlife conservation depends on effective management practices; however, these are often influenced by public opinions and attitudes. Our aim was to understand the causes behind these attitudes and to compare our results with previous research done in Latvia. Questionnaires were distributed through schools and hunter organisations. The attitudes of both the general public and hunters were mostly neutral or positive. Older people and women were generally less positive. Respondents with less positive attitudes were more likely to say that wolf numbers in the country should be decreased. Significant associations between attitudes, beliefs of wolves causing damage and financial losses and what should be done with wolf numbers in Latvia were found. Three attitude predictors were established.
A Preliminary Assessment on the Habitat Use of Carnivores in Al Mujib Biosphere Reserve Using Camera Trapping N Hamidan, ZS Amr, MAA Baker – Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, 2020 Sep
Individual Variation in Predatory Behavior, Scavenging and Seasonal Prey Availability as Potential Drivers of Coexistence between Wolves and Bears. Ordiz A, Milleret C, Uzal A, Zimmermann B, Wabakken P, Wikenros C, Sand H, Swenson JE, Kindberg J.Diversity. 2020 Sep
Biodiversity crime and economic crisis: Hidden mechanisms of misuse of ecosystem goods in Greece AY Troumbis, Y Zevgolis – Land Use Policy, 2020
The combined effects of centralization and carnivore management on sheep farmers and sheep farming in Norway GH Strand – Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 2020 Sep
Better representation is needed in Endangered Species Act implementation J Malcom, A Carter – 2020