WCS 3-Sentence Science
Zigging and Zagging to Avoid Predators
September 6, 2019
Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.
Here we present work by the WCS North America program’s Toni Ruth on how elk avoid contact with multiple predators.
- Researchers measured how northern Yellowstone elk (Cervus elaphus) responded to wolves (Canis lupus) and cougars (Puma concolor), and found that elk seek out places and times where and when predators are least active to minimize threats from multiple predators simultaneously.
- This enabled elk to avoid one predator without necessarily increasing its exposure to the other.
- The authors argue that a multi-predator framework that looks at how species hunt in different places and times is vital to understand the causes and consequences of prey response to predation risk in environments with more than one predator.
Study and Journal: “Do prey select for vacant hunting domains to minimize a multi-predator threat?” from Ecology Letters
WCS Co-Author(s): Toni Ruth, WCS North America Program
For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, firstname.lastname@example.org.