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Title: Pastoralist activities affect the movement patterns of a large African carnivore, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Populations of large carnivores are declining in many parts of the world due to anthropogenic activity. Some species of large carnivores, however, are able to coexist with people by altering their behavior. Altered behaviors may be challenging to identify in large carnivores because these animals are typically cryptic, nocturnal, live at low densities, and because changes in their behavior may be subtle or emerge slowly over many years. We studied the effects of livestock presence on the movements of one large carnivore, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). We fit 22 adult female spotted hyenas with GPS collars to quantify their movements in areas with and without livestock or herders present, in and around a protected area in southwestern Kenya. We investigated anthropogenic, social, and ecological effects on the speed of movement, distances traveled, long-distance movements, and extraterritorial excursions by spotted hyenas. Hyenas living primarily within the protected area, but in the presence of livestock and herders, moved faster, traveled over longer distances, and were more likely to be within their territories than did conspecifics living in areas without livestock and herders. Hyenas of low social rank were more likely than hyenas of high social rank to engage in long-distance more » travel events, and these were more likely to occur when prey were scarce. The movement patterns of this large African carnivore indicate a flexibility that may allow them to persist in landscapes that are becoming increasingly defined by people.

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Award ID(s):
1755089 1853934
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Mammalogy
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1941-1953
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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