Scavenging on a pulsed resource: quality matters for corvids but density for mammals.

Authors:
Jenny Mattisson
Jenny Mattisson
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Norway

BMC Ecol 2017 06 15;17(1):22. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, 2418, Elverum, Norway.

Background: Human food subsidies can provide predictable food sources in large quantities for wildlife species worldwide. In the boreal forest of Fennoscandia, gut piles from moose (Alces alces) harvest provide a potentially important food source for a range of opportunistically scavenging predators. Increased populations of predators can negatively affect threatened or important game species. As a response to this, restrictions on field dressing of moose are under consideration in parts of Norway. However, there is a lack of research to how this resource is utilized. In this study, we used camera-trap data from 50 gut piles during 1043 monitoring days. We estimated depletion of gut piles separately for parts with high and low energy content, and used these results to scale up gut pile density in the study area. We identified scavenger species and analyzed the influences of gut pile quality and density on scavenging behavior of mammals and corvids (family Corvidae).

Results: Main scavengers were corvids and red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Parts with high energy content were rapidly consumed, mainly by corvids that were present at all gut piles shortly after the remains were left at the kill site. Corvid presence declined with days since harvest, reflecting reduction in gut pile quality over time independent of gut pile density. Mammals arrived 7-8 days later at the gut piles than corvids, and their presence depended only on gut pile density with a peak at intermediate densities. The decline at high gut pile densities suggest a saturation effect, which could explain accumulation of gut pile parts with low energy content.

Conclusions: This study shows that remains from moose harvest can potentially be an important food resource for scavengers, as it was utilized to a high degree by many species. This study gives novel insight into how energy content and density of resources affect scavenging patterns among functional groups of scavengers.

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12898-017-0132-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472881PMC

Still can't find the full text of the article?

Sign up to send a request to the authors directly.
June 2017
8 Reads

Publication Analysis

Top Keywords

gut pile
28
gut piles
20
energy content
12
gut
12
pile density
12
parts high
8
density mammals
8
pile quality
8
low energy
8
pile
7
density
6
corvids
5
piles
5
resource quality
4
study area
4
area identified
4
density study
4
scale gut
4
scavenging
4
saturation explain
4

References

(Supplied by CrossRef)
Article in Ecol Lett
D Oro et al.
Ecol Lett 2013
Article in J Appl Ecol
G Bino et al.
J Appl Ecol 2010
Article in J Anim Ecol
J-M Pons et al.
J Anim Ecol 1995
Article in Ibis
EC Steigerwald et al.
Ibis 2015
Article in Anim Conserv
P Tixier et al.
Anim Conserv 2015
Article in PLoS ONE
D Oro et al.
PLoS ONE 2009
Article in Ecol Appl
A Margalida et al.
Ecol Appl 2014
Article in J Appl Ecol
A Martínez-Abraín et al.
J Appl Ecol 2012
Article in Oecologia
L Ruffino et al.
Oecologia 2013
Article in Ecol Appl
M Carrete et al.
Ecol Appl 2006
Article in J Wildl Manag
MA Haroldson et al.
J Wildl Manag 2004

Similar Publications