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The return of large carnivores: Using hunter observation data to understand the role of predators on ungulate populations

Tallian, Aimee and Ordiz, Andres and Zimmermann, Barbara and Sand, Håkan and Wikenros, Camilla and Wabakken, Petter and Bergqvist, Göran and Kindberg, Jonas (2021). The return of large carnivores: Using hunter observation data to understand the role of predators on ungulate populations. Global Ecology and Conservation. 27 , e01587
[Research article]

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Abstract

Large carnivores play a key ecological role in nature, yet quantifying the effects of predation at large spatiotemporal scales remains challenging. Wolves and brown bears have recovered in Sweden, where they share the same staple prey, moose. This ecosystem is representative of the Eurasian boreal realm, and makes an interesting case study for exploring the use of hunter-collected observation data to understand the ecological effects of large carnivore recovery in human-dominated ecosystems. We used over 50 million hours of moose observation data collected by "citizen scientists" (i.e., moose hunters) between 2000 and 2017 to evaluate the role of recovering bear and wolf populations on an important ungulate vital rate, calf/cow ratio (the number of observed calves per female in fall). Calf/cow ratios were negatively correlated with both wolf and bear densities, suggesting that summer calf survival decreased via predation. Calf/cow ratios decreased by 7% and 17% in the northern and southern areas where bears and wolves were allopatric, respectively. Where wolves and bears were sympatric, the effect of predator densities was additive; calf/cow ratios decreased by 18%. However, both calf/cow ratios and moose densities declined over the last similar to 20 years across Sweden, including areas where wolves and bears were absent. While recolonizing large carnivores affected ungulate vital rates in Sweden's human-dominated landscape, they were likely not the primary driver of long-term moose population trends. Our results reinforce that citizen-collected data are a useful wildlife monitoring tool that help understand ecological processes, including the effects of recovering carnivores on prey populations. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Authors/Creators:Tallian, Aimee and Ordiz, Andres and Zimmermann, Barbara and Sand, Håkan and Wikenros, Camilla and Wabakken, Petter and Bergqvist, Göran and Kindberg, Jonas
Title:The return of large carnivores: Using hunter observation data to understand the role of predators on ungulate populations
Series Name/Journal:Global Ecology and Conservation
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:27
Article number:e01587
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:2351-9894
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Brown bear, Calf/cow ratio, Carnivore recovery, Predator-prey interactions, Wolf
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112711
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112711
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01587
Web of Science (WoS)000663458000004
ID Code:24831
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:09 Jul 2021 12:25
Metadata Last Modified:09 Jul 2021 12:31

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