Trophic scaling and occupancy analysis reveals a lion population limited by top-down anthropogenic pressure in the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique

Show simple item record Everatt, Kristoffer T. Andresen, Leah Somers, Michael J.
dc.contributor.editor Festa-Bianchet, Marco 2014-09-02T06:19:34Z 2014-09-02T06:19:34Z 2014-06-10
dc.description.abstract The African lion (Panthera Leo) has suffered drastic population and range declines over the last few decades and is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction. Conservation management requires reliable population estimates, however these data are lacking for many of the continent’s remaining populations. It is possible to estimate lion abundance using a trophic scaling approach. However, such inferences assume that a predator population is subject only to bottom-up regulation, and are thus likely to produce biased estimates in systems experiencing top-down anthropogenic pressures. Here we provide baseline data on the status of lions in a developing National Park in Mozambique that is impacted by humans and livestock. We compare a direct density estimate with an estimate derived from trophic scaling. We then use replicated detection/nondetection surveys to estimate the proportion of area occupied by lions, and hierarchical ranking of covariates to provide inferences on the relative contribution of prey resources and anthropogenic factors influencing lion occurrence. The direct density estimate was less than 1/3 of the estimate derived from prey resources (0.99 lions/100 km2 vs. 3.05 lions/100 km2). The proportion of area occupied by lions was Y= 0.439 (SE = 0.121), or approximately 44% of a 2 400 km2 sample of potential habitat. Although lions were strongly predicted by a greater probability of encountering prey resources, the greatest contributing factor to lion occurrence was a strong negative association with settlements. Finally, our empirical abundance estimate is approximately 1/3 of a published abundance estimate derived from opinion surveys. Altogether, our results describe a lion population held below resource-based carrying capacity by anthropogenic factors and highlight the limitations of trophic scaling and opinion surveys for estimating predator populations exposed to anthropogenic pressures. Our study provides the first empirical quantification of a population that future change can be measured against. en_US
dc.description.librarian am2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship KTE and LA were supported by the May and Stanley Smith Trust, The Wipplinger KL Bursary Found, Wilderness Wildlife Trust and Canada National Student Grants. en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.identifier.citation Everatt KT, Andresen L, Somers MJ (2014) Trophic Scaling and Occupancy Analysis Reveals a Lion Population Limited by Top-Down Anthropogenic Pressure in the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99389. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099389. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0099389
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.rights © 2014 Everatt et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_US
dc.subject Conservation management en_US
dc.subject African lion (Panthera leo) en_US
dc.subject Limpopo National Park, Mozambique en_US
dc.subject Lion population en_US
dc.title Trophic scaling and occupancy analysis reveals a lion population limited by top-down anthropogenic pressure in the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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