Habitat thresholds for successful predation under landscape change

  • August 11, 2022
  • by Atkinson, H., Cristescu, B, Marker L. L., Rooney N.

Abstract

Context Habitat loss and alteration affect wildlife populations worldwide. Bush encroachment alters landscapes and threatens arid and semi-arid grasslands, but its effects on predator–prey relationships and carnivore community ecology are not well understood. Predation strategies of large predators, for example high-speed pursuits versus ambush from short distances, are likely to be affected differently by bush encroachment. Objectives We assessed how bush encroachment affects overall predation success of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and leopards (Panthera pardus) in a savanna landscape under variable fractional woody cover (FWC). We tested if predation success remained relatively unchanged for leopards across a gradient of FWC, and whether cheetah predation was most successful at low to intermediate cover and varied seasonally.

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