Document Detail

Can rare positive interactions become common when large carnivores consume livestock?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22624309     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Livestock populations in protected areas are viewed negatively because of their interaction with native ungulates through direct competition for food resources. However, livestock and native prey can also interact indirectly through their shared predator. Indirect interactions between two prey species occur when one prey modifies either the functional or numerical responses of a shared predator. This interaction is often manifested as negative effects (apparent competition) on one or both prey species through increased predation risk. But indirect interactions can also yield positive effects on a focal prey if the shared predator modifies its functional response toward increased consumption of an abundant and higher-quality alternative prey. Such a phenomenon between two prey species is underappreciated and overlooked in nature. Positive indirect effects can be expected to occur in livestock-dominated wildlife reserves containing large carnivores. We searched for such positive effects in Acacia-Zizhypus forests of India's Gir sanctuary where livestock (Bubalus bubalis and Bos indicus) and a coexisting native prey (chital deer, Axis axis) are consumed by Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica). Chital vigilance was higher in areas with low livestock density than in areas with high livestock density. This positive indirect effect occurred because lion predation rates on livestock were twice as great where livestock were abundant than where livestock density was low. Positive indirect interactions mediated by shared predators may be more common than generally thought with rather major consequences for ecological understanding and conservation. We encourage further studies to understand outcomes of indirect interactions on long-term predator-prey dynamics in livestock-dominated protected areas.
Vijayan Sundararaj; Brian E McLaren; Douglas W Morris; S P Goyal
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology     Volume:  93     ISSN:  0012-9658     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecology     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-05-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0043541     Medline TA:  Ecology     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  272-80     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University. Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5El Canada.
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