Research on the ecology of fear has highlighted the importance of perceived risk from predators and humans in shaping animal behavior and physiology, with potential demographic and ecosystem-wide consequences. Despite recent conceptual advances and potential management implications of the ecology of fear, theory and conservation practices have rarely been linked. Many challenges in animal conservation may be alleviated by actively harnessing or compensating for risk perception and risk avoidance behavior in wild animal populations. Integration of the ecology of fear into conservation and management practice can contribute to the recovery of threatened populations, human–wildlife conflict mitigation, invasive species management, maintenance of sustainable harvest and species reintroduction plans. Here, we present an applied framework that links conservation interventions to desired outcomes by manipulating ecology of fear dynamics. We discuss how to reduce or amplify fear in wild animals by manipulating habitat structure, sensory stimuli, animal experience (previous exposure to risk) and food safety trade-offs to achieve management objectives. Changing the optimal decision-making of individuals in managed populations can then further conservation goals by shaping the spatiotemporal distribution of animals, changing predation rates and altering risk effects that scale up to demographic consequences. We also outline future directions for applied research onmore »
Exploiting common senses: sensory ecology meets wildlife conservation and management.
Multidisciplinary approaches to conservation and wildlife management are often e ective in addressing complex, multi-factor problems. Emerging elds such as conservation physiology and conservation behaviour can provide innovative solutions and management strategies for target species and systems. Sensory ecology combines the study of ‘how animals acquire’ and process sensory stimuli from their environments, and the ecological and evolutionary signi cance of ‘how animals respond’ to this information. We review the bene ts that sensory ecology can bring to wildlife conservation and management by discussing case studies across major taxa and sensory modalities. Conservation practices informed by a sensory ecology approach include the amelioration of sensory traps, control of invasive species, reduction of human–wildlife con icts and relocation and establishment of new populations of endangered species. We illustrate that sensory ecology can facilitate the understanding of mechanistic ecological and physiological explanations underlying particular conservation issues and also can help develop innovative solutions to ameliorate conservation problems.
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- Conservation physiology
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- National Science Foundation
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