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From overlooking to concealed: predator avoidance in an apex carnivore

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Many prey species select bed sites that reduce the risk of being caught off guard. We investigated bed sites used by an apex predator (gray wolf, Canis lupus) before and after individuals were approached by humans (N048 trials). On 9 out of 10 days, the unprovoked wolves rested at sites high in the terrain with a good overview (overlooking sites). After being approached, they resettled on more concealed sites lower in the terrain. Solitary yearlings used less overlooking sites than adults both before and after disturbance. The study provides experimental evidence that wolves’ behavioural response to approaching humans is analogous to predator avoidance in prey species.

Document: Wam2012_Article_FromOverlookingToConcealedPred.pdf  PDF icon

Author(s): H. K. Wam, K. Eldegard, O. Hjeljord

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