Eld’s Deer Translocated to Human-Inhabited Areas Become Nocturnal
As human populations expand and nonhuman animals decline, understanding the interactions between people and wildlife is essential. For endangered species, appreciating the effect of human disturbance can be important for their conservation. However, a human disturbance angle is often absent from ecological research, despite growing evidence of the negative impact of nonfatal human interference. Here, we monitored Hainan Eld’s deer living within a reserve and translocated animals living amongst villagers. We show that translocated deer deviated from a crepuscular activity pattern and became increasingly nocturnal, and most active when villagers were not. It appears that translocated deer adapted over time to human disturbance and this pattern is similar to that of other species during periods of hunting. People do not pose an actual threat to Eld’s deer, but their presence triggered a response akin to predator avoidance and may be interfering with broader aspects of their biology and conservation.
KeywordsEld’s deer Cervus eldi hainanus Ungulates Reintroduction Human disturbance Activity pattern
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 30770320 and 30470260), and as a Key Project in the National Science and Technology Pillar Program in the Eleventh Five-year Plan Period of China (Grant 2008BADB0B01). We would like to thank Zhang Licun for his help in monitoring deer and Chen Zechun and staff at Chihao Reserve Station for assistance in the field.
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