As an apex predator, habitat selection by African lions, Panthera leo, is primarily determined
by bottom-up processes; however, increasing anthropogenic pressures may alter these
relationships. Using camera traps and track surveys in the Limpopo National Park,
Mozambique, we collected detection/non-detection data of lions and their prey and
combined these with occurrence data on bushmeat poaching activities and spatial data on
agro-pastoralist land use and other landscape features. We used hierarchical modelling
within an occupancy framework to determine the relative influences of ecological variables
on resource use and non-use by lions at two spatial scales. Habitat use by lions was most
strongly influenced by the occurrence of their preferred prey across both spatial scales.
However, lions were strongly negatively predicted by bushmeat poaching at the finer spatial
scale and generally negatively predicted by agro-pastoralist activities at the coarser scale.
Restricting our analysis to the home-range scale would have greatly underestimated the
impact of bushmeat poaching on the ecology of lions. The results of our study illustrate the
trophic dependency of prey resources to lions and the importance of considering scale
when investigating species habitat use. Importantly, our study also demonstrates the
limiting influence of bushmeat poaching on the use of habitat by an apex predator.