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Type: Journal article
Title: In situ predator conditioning of naive prey prior to reintroduction
Author: Blumstein, D.T.
Letnic, M.
Moseby, K.E.
Citation: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2019; 374(1781):20180058-1-20180058-8
Publisher: Royal Society
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0962-8436
Statement of
Daniel T. Blumstein, Mike Letnic and Katherine E. Moseby
Abstract: Many translocations and introductions to recover threatened populations fail because predators kill prey soon after release; a problem exacerbated for predator-naive prey. While pre-release training has been shown to work in some situations, it is time consuming and relies on using inferred predator cues and treating small groups. We review a relatively new and very promising management tool: in situ, pre-release predator conditioning. Here, the goal is to allow prey in large enclosures to live with low densities of predators to accelerate selection for antipredator traits (in an evolutionary sense) or provide prey essential experience with predators that they will later encounter. We review the published results of a large-scale, controlled experiment where we have permitted burrowing bettongs (Bettongia lesueur) and greater bilblies (Macrotis lagotis) to live with low densities of feral cats (Felis catus), a species implicated in their widespread decline and localized extinction. We found that both species could persist with cats, suggesting that future work should define coexistence thresholds-which will require knowledge of prey behaviour as well as the structure of the ecological community. Compared to control populations, predator-naive prey exposed to cats has a suite of morphological and behavioural responses that seemingly have increased their antipredator abilities. Results suggest that predator-conditioned bilbies survive better when released into a large enclosure with an established cat population; future work will determine whether this increased survival extends to the wild. This article is part of the theme issue 'Linking behaviour to dynamics of populations and communities: application of novel approaches in behavioural ecology to conservation'.
Keywords: conservation behaviour
endangered species management
prey naiveté
reintroduction biology
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0058
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Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
Aurora harvest 8

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