Document Detail

Evaluation of neophobia and its potential impact upon predator control techniques: a study on two sympatric foxes in southern Patagonia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23124014     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
An alternative approach to increase the efficiency of predator control and selectivity is to consider the natural behavioural repertoire of the target species and how such behaviors may increase their vulnerability. Neophobia, or the hesitancy to approach a novel food item, object, or place, is an important factor influencing the investigative behavior of animals, and its incorporation to predator control techniques may help to reduce losses of livestock to predators. In this study, we simultaneously evaluated the existence and intensity of neophobic responses in two sympatric fox species, the Culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus) and the Grey (P. griseus) foxes in southern Patagonia, Argentina. For this purpose, we used bait stations to compare fox behavioral responses in the absence (pre-treatment), presence (treatment) and removal (post-treatment) of a novel stimulus, which consisted of an orange PVC-traffic cone. Both fox species showed a neophobic response: bait-station visitation rates decreased (P=0.005 and P=0.048, for Culpeo and Grey foxes, respectively) in presence of the novel object. The intensity of the response differed between species being higher for Culpeo foxes (approximately 80% of reduction in visitation rate during treatment for Culpeo foxes vs. 10% for Grey foxes). However, the bait-station visitation pattern after novel object removal indicated that animals probably increased exploration of the station. The high level of neophobia achieved by the Culpeo fox, together with an increase in post-treatment site exploration, suggests that behavioural manipulations (reduction of neophobia and its consequent increase in risk taking) could improve selective and efficient fox control in rural areas where livestock production is a major economic activity.
Alejandro Travaini; Aldo Iván Vassallo; Germán Oscar García; Alejandra Isabel Echeverría; Sonia Cristina Zapata; Sigrid Nielsen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-30
Journal Detail:
Title:  Behavioural processes     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1872-8308     ISO Abbreviation:  Behav. Processes     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703854     Medline TA:  Behav Processes     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Centro de Investigaciones Puerto Deseado, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral. Av. Prefectura Naval S/N, 9050 Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz, Argentina; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Av. Rivadavia 1917, C1033AAJ Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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