The evidence for and urgency of threats to African wild dogs from prey depletion and climate change

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Date

2023-09

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Abstract

Many African large carnivore populations are declining due to decline of the herbivore populations on which they depend. We recently noted that the densities of true apex carnivores like the lion and spotted hyena correlate strongly with prey density, but competitively subordinate carnivores like the African wild dog benefit from competitive release when density of apex carnivores is low, so the expected effect of a simultaneous decrease in resources and dominant competitors is not obvious. We found that when prey density drops below a tipping point, the relationship of wild dog density to prey density changes sign, and wild dog density declines. We also noted that ‘prey depletion provides a mechanistically direct explanation of patterns in wild dog dynamics that have been attributed to climate change’ (Creel et al., 2023).

Description

© This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

carnivore, climate change, interspecific competition, lycaon pictus, population density, prey depletion

Citation

Creel, S., Becker, M. S., de Merkle, J. R., & Goodheart, B. (2023). The evidence for and urgency of threats to African wild dogs from prey depletion and climate change. Biological Conservation, 285(C).
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