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Wolves, elk, and bison: reestablishing the "landscape of fear" in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A

Wolves, elk, and bison: reestablishing the "landscape of fear" in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A,10.1139/cjz-79-8-1401,Canadian Journal of Zoology-r

Wolves, elk, and bison: reestablishing the "landscape of fear" in Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A   (Citations: 27)
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The elk or wapiti (Cervus elaphus) and bison (Bison bison) of Yellowstone National Park have lived in an environment free of wolves (Canis lupus) for the last 50 years. In the winter of 1994-1995, wolves were reintroduced into parts of Yellowstone National Park. Foraging theory predicts that elk and bison would respond to this threat by in - creasing their vigilance levels. We tested this prediction by comparing vigilance levels of elk and bison in areas with wolves with those of elk still in "wolf-free" zones of the Park. Male elk and bison showed no response to the reintro- duction of wolves, maintaining the lowest levels of vigilance throughout the study (≈12 and 7% of the time was spent vigilant, respectively). Female elk and bison showed significantly higher vigilance levels in areas with wolves than in areas without wolves. The highest vigilance level (47.5 ± 4.1%; mean ± SE) was seen by the second year for female elk with calves in the areas with wolves and was maintained during the subsequent 3 years of the study. As wolves ex- panded into non-wolf areas, female elk with and without calves in these areas gradually increased their vigilance levels from initially 20.1 ± 3.5 and 11.5 ± 0.9% to 43.0 ± 5.9 and 30.5 ± 2.8% by the fifth year of the study, respectively. We discuss the possible reasons for the differences seen among the social groups. We suggest that these behavioural re- sponses to the presence of wolves may have more far-reaching consequences for elk and bison ecology than the actual killing of individuals by wolves. 1409
Journal: Canadian Journal of Zoology-revue Canadienne De Zoologie - CAN J ZOOL , vol. 79, no. 8, pp. 1401-1409, 2001
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    • ...When top predators like cougars and wolves disappear, surprising things happen. By creating a “landscape of fear,” predators change prey behavior. Reintroducing gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park drove deer, elk, and moose out of willow stands, releasing grazing pressure on songbird habitat and increasing songbird diversity [...

    Liza Gross. No Place for Predators? : Time and again, advancing civilization has s...

    • ...The return of wolves to the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which has had a remarkable number of unanticipated effects, is a compelling demonstration of ecological linkages. Wolves create a landscape of fear, changing the habitat-selection behavior of their prey [...

    Daniel T. Blumsteinet al. The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It)

    • ...Spider abundance and diversity are associated with habitat structural complexity and wolf spiders in particular tend to accumulate in areas where mulch or plant debris has collected on the soil surface (Rypstra et al. 1999, Langellotto and Denno 2004)...
    • ...Although reduced predation, increased prey capture success and/ or improved microclimate conditions have most frequently been suggested to explain these habitat connections, few studies have attempted to link multiple habitat features or explored the various tradeoffs a given population might experience as they move across a complex landscape (Uetz 1991, Rypstra et al. 1999, Finke and Denno 2002, Langellotto and Denno 2004)...

    Ann L. Rypstraet al. Tradeoffs involved in site selection and foraging in a wolf spider: ef...

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