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Space use patterns of a large mammalian herbivore distinguished by activity state: fear versus food?

Owen-Smith, N and Traill, LW (2017) Space use patterns of a large mammalian herbivore distinguished by activity state: fear versus food? Journal of Zoology, 303 (4). pp. 281-290. ISSN 0952-8369

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Abstract

Space use patterns have generally been interpreted using home‐range concepts without distinguishing the particular activities performed in different regions. The relative influences of food resources, security from predation and shelter from thermal extremes on space occupation are likely to vary with time of day and changing conditions over the seasonal cycle. We used hourly movement rates obtained from GPS telemetry to infer the predominant activity states of blue wildebeest in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, at different times of day. Food procurement was assumed to be the primary consideration during the morning and late afternoon, shade seeking to become important over midday, and security from predation to be the overriding factor at night when stalking predators are most active. Travelling excursions were expected to occur mostly during daylight when lurking predators are most readily detected. Movements beyond the preferred range should occur more frequently in the late dry season when food has been depleted and surface water sources become restricted. As anticipated, we observed shifts in space occupation by the collared wildebeest herds with time of day and activity state. During the night, wildebeest herds remained within the ranges they occupied during prime foraging times in the early morning and late afternoon. However, they contracted their space occupation away from habitat edges where concealment for stalking lions increased, both while resting and while foraging. Herds inconsistently expanded their space use into surrounding areas with more shade but taller grass over midday. Risky excursions beyond the prime foraging ranges became more frequent late in the dry season. Security from predation seemed to be the overriding influence and restricted access to food resources. By taking into account temporal variation in prevailing activity states and other influences, space occupation patterns can be related to particular vital needs and their interactions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Owen‐Smith, N. and Traill, L. W. (2017), Space use patterns of a large mammalian herbivore distinguished by activity state: fear versus food?. J Zool, 303: 281-290. doi:10.1111/jzo.12490, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12490. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 05 Environmental Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2019 11:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/jzo.12490
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11709

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