Anti-predator behavior of Vancouver island marmots: Using congeners to evaluate abilities of a critically endangered mammal

Citation
Dt. Blumstein et al., Anti-predator behavior of Vancouver island marmots: Using congeners to evaluate abilities of a critically endangered mammal, ETHOLOGY, 107(1), 2001, pp. 1-14
Citations number
52
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ETHOLOGY
ISSN journal
0179-1613 → ACNP
Volume
107
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
1 - 14
Database
ISI
SICI code
0179-1613(200101)107:1<1:ABOVIM>2.0.ZU;2-4
Abstract
Behavioral comparisons between endangered species and their congeners may p rovide valuable data with which to test ideas about declining populations o r the future direction of recovery efforts. We considered the case of the h ighly endangered Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis). Predatio n is a current source of mortality, and inadequate anti-predator behavior c ould have profound ramifications for the future success of re-introductions . We tested whether M, vancouverensis anti-predator behavior was unusual or 'deficient' by quantifying it and comparing it to 13 other marmot species. We found no evidence that Vancouver Island marmots were unwary. If anythin g, the converse was true. Vancouver Island marmots were responsive and vigi lant towards real and simulated predatory threats. They dug numerous escape burrows that reduced the likelihood of predation. Our results have several implications for future recovery efforts, one of which was to establish 'b aseline' flight-response targets that captive-bred Vancouver Island marmots will have to meet or exceed prior to release into predator-rich environmen ts.