Behaviour 2019
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Reinstating a landscape of fear: community-wide behavioral responses to predator reintroduction
Meredith S Palmer1, Kaitlyn Gaynor2, Matthew Hutchinson1, Justine Becker3, Joel Abraham1, Erin Phillips1, Paola Bouley4, Rob Pringle1. 1Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States; 2National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, CA, United States; 3University of Wyoming, Department of Zoology and Physiology, Laramie, WY, United States; 4Gorongosa National Park, NA, NA, Mozambique

In theory, large carnivores play a key role in structuring ecological communities through their effects on prey behavior and population dynamics. With over 60% of terrestrial carnivores facing extinction, it is critical to understand what happens to ecosystems when predators are lost and whether predator reintroduction can successfully restore functional ecological relationships. Here, we examine the effects of African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) reintroduction to the Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique on the spatiotemporal activity of a broad prey community. Using multi-year camera trap monitoring, vigilance surveys, and road transects, we investigate how large herbivores that differ in key traits relating to vulnerability and resource requirements alter their landscape use, diel activity patterns, vigilance behavior, and group size under renewed predation risk. Full results forthcoming. This unique natural experiment allows us to evaluate the role that predators play in shaping community dynamics by comparing prey activity in the presence and absence of predation threat. Furthermore, our results can be used to guide efforts aiming to shift degraded systems back to rewilded states.