Is diversionary feeding a useful tool to avoid human-ungulate conflicts? A case study with the aoudad
Diversionary feeding (i.e. supplementary feeding used to mitigate damage to human activities) is a management tool widely employed to avoid human-wildlife conflicts, which could alter the spatial behaviour of target species and can also affect other species present in the area, among other effects. We evaluated the effect of diversionary feeding in the spatial behaviour of the aoudad (Ammotragus lervia), an exotic ungulate associated with crop damage in the area, and we assessed the use of diversionary feeding stations (DFS) by non-target species. Nine aoudads were tracked with GPS/GSM collars. We compared their core home ranges and number of GPS locations in the DFS before and meanwhile food was available on them. Eight DFS were monitored with cameras to identify which species used the feeding sites. The home ranges changed for some individuals, but this variation was not related to supplementary feeding. Just five out of the nine tracked aoudads used DFS, and the number of GPS locations in the DFS by aoudad increased when food was available. DFS were used by fifteen non-target species of birds and mammals, and especially by the wild boar. Aoudads and wild boars segregated temporally but not spatially in their use of the DFS. Our study suggests that diversionary feeding had a limited effect on the spatial behaviour of the aoudad, suggesting that its effectiveness to reduce crop damage may be restricted.
KeywordsAmmotragus lervia Co-occurrence Wildlife management Home range Non-target species
We thank the veterinary (F. Escribano), public gamekeepers (C. Esteban, J. J. Rodríguez, F. Yepes), rangers (Evaristo) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Murcia Region. RPR was supported by a pre-doctoral grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education (FPU13/05460), and the study was partially supported by MINECO and ERDF (projectCGL2015-66966-C2-1-R). JMPG and ESG were supported by a Juan de la Cierva research contract by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (FJCI-2015-25632 and IJCI-2015-24947). GPS collars were partially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union (P.O. 2007/2013).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal studies
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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