Context. Human activities can induce behavioural and stress responses in wild animals. Information is scarce on the effects of culling on anti-predator behaviour and endogenous stress response of wild ungulates. Aims. In a Mediterranean area, we evaluated the effects of culling on vigilance, foraging and endogenous stress response of female fallow deer (Dama dama). Methods. Effects of culling were evaluated through behavioural observations and hormone analyses of faecal samples. Key results. In an area where culling occurred (C), individuals showed significantly greater vigilance rates and foraged closer to wood than in an area with no culling (NC). In C, 24 h after culling, faecal cortisol concentrations were greater than those recorded in NC, but they decreased significantly to values comparable to (48 h post-shot) and lower than (72 h post-shot) those observed in NC. Conclusions. Most likely, culling determined behavioural responses in female fallow deer, but did not trigger long-term physiological effects. Implications. Increased anti-predator behaviour may complicate the implementation of long-term culling programs.

Effects of culling on vigilance behaviour and endogenous stress response of female fallow deer

MACCHI, Elisabetta
2016-01-01

Abstract

Context. Human activities can induce behavioural and stress responses in wild animals. Information is scarce on the effects of culling on anti-predator behaviour and endogenous stress response of wild ungulates. Aims. In a Mediterranean area, we evaluated the effects of culling on vigilance, foraging and endogenous stress response of female fallow deer (Dama dama). Methods. Effects of culling were evaluated through behavioural observations and hormone analyses of faecal samples. Key results. In an area where culling occurred (C), individuals showed significantly greater vigilance rates and foraged closer to wood than in an area with no culling (NC). In C, 24 h after culling, faecal cortisol concentrations were greater than those recorded in NC, but they decreased significantly to values comparable to (48 h post-shot) and lower than (72 h post-shot) those observed in NC. Conclusions. Most likely, culling determined behavioural responses in female fallow deer, but did not trigger long-term physiological effects. Implications. Increased anti-predator behaviour may complicate the implementation of long-term culling programs.
2016
43
3
189
196
http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/144.htm?nid=145&aid=112
alertness; anti-predator behaviour; faecal cortisol; group size effect; ungulates.; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Pecorella, I.; Ferretti, F.; Sforzi, A.; Macchi, E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1627820
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