Behaviour 2019
Scavenging communities in a human-dominated landscape.
Sourabh Biswas, Anindita Bhadra. Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur, West Bengal, India

Rapid urbanisation has led to habitat loss, leading to a subsequent loss of biodiversity across natural habitats. Nevertheless, some species have adapted to living in human-dominated landscapes, co-existing with humans. Such urban-adapted species typically depend on scavenging on human-generated resources for their sustenance. However, scavenging communities have hardly been studied in urban ecosystems. We are currently carrying out a study aimed at documenting the scavenging communities in different semi-urban and urban habitats in India. I will present preliminary data from West Bengal, India, in which we carried out an experiment using vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to attract scavengers at two different times of the day for several days. The visitors to this ad hoc resource included free-ranging dogs, cats, cows, goats and several species of birds. Both inter and intra-species interactions were also noted. We intend to use data from several such locations to not only document the scavenging community but also carry out further analysis to understand the interplay of factors like habitat type, food type, time of the day etc on the scavengers visiting the site.