The influence of large predators on the feeding ecology of two African mesocarnivores: the black-backed jackal and the brown hyaena

Yarnell, R.W. ORCID: 0000-0001-6584-7374, Phipps, W.L., Burgess, L.P., Ellis, J.A., Harrison, S.W.R., MacTavish, D., MacTavish, L.M. and Scott, D.M., 2013. The influence of large predators on the feeding ecology of two African mesocarnivores: the black-backed jackal and the brown hyaena. South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 43 (2), pp. 155-166. ISSN 0379-4369

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Abstract

Interactions between apex and mesopredators and their impacts on prey populations have been well documented, while the influence of apex predators such as lions on carrion availability and the subsequent impacts at lower trophic levels are not fully understood. Here we assess dietary overlap between two sympatric carnivores (brown hyaena, Parahyaena brunnea, and black-backed jackal, Canis mesomelas) in neighbouring reserves with and without apex predators (lions, Panthera leo,and wild dog, Lycaon pictus). We investigate whether apex predators facilitate niche partitioning between mesocarnivores by creating additional scavenging opportunities through predatory activity. We found that brown hyaena density was higher in the area with apex predators, while black-backed jackal density was higher in the area without apex predators. Black-backed jackal scats contained broadly similar dietary items at both sites, while large mammal remains occurred significantly more frequently in brown hyaena scats collected inthe presence of apex predators. In the absence of apex predators there was a markedly higher degree of overlap between brown hyaena and jackal diets, suggesting increased levels of inter-specific competition. Our results suggest that apex predators potentially reduce levels of inter-specific competition for food between mesocarnivores by providing additional scavenging opportunities for specialist scavengers such as brown hyaena.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: South African Journal of Wildlife Research
Creators: Yarnell, R.W., Phipps, W.L., Burgess, L.P., Ellis, J.A., Harrison, S.W.R., MacTavish, D., MacTavish, L.M. and Scott, D.M.
Publisher: Southern African Wildlife Management Association
Date: 2013
Volume: 43
Number: 2
ISSN: 0379-4369
Rights: © 2013 Southern African Wildlife Management Association.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:53
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:44
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19740

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