Lions Panthera leo prefer killing certain cattle Bos taurus types

Show simple item record Weise, Florian Johannes Tomeletso, Mathata Stein, Andrew B. Somers, Michael J. Hayward, Matt W. 2020-05-05T10:16:06Z 2020-05-05T10:16:06Z 2020-04
dc.description.abstract Lion predation on cattle causes severe human–wildlife conflict that results in retaliatory persecution throughout the lion’s geographic range. Cattle closely resemble the body size, shape, and herding patterns of preferred lion prey species. We studied cattle depredation patterns in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and tested whether lions exhibited specific preferences based on cattle demographic characteristics (sex and age), as well as morphological traits (body mass, horn length, and pelage patterns). We also tested whether human disturbance of kills influenced lion energy intake and whether depredation circumstances influenced loss levels. Lions predominantly killed cattle at night (87.1%) and exhibited no preference for either sex. Overall, bulls and calves were most preferred, whereas heifers were significantly avoided, as were cattle with uniform colour patterns. Cattle with mottled pelage patterns were most preferred, especially among free-roaming herds. Preferences were context-specific, with lions preferring inexperienced calves during enclosure attacks (including multiple cases of surplus killing) and free-roaming bulls and oxen. About 13% of adult cattle had no horns, and these were preferentially targeted by lions, while cattle with short horns were killed in accordance with their availability and long horned cattle were highly avoided. The contemporary morphology of Tswana cattle that resulted from unnatural selective pressures during domestication does not offer effective antipredatory protection. Human disturbance of feeding soon after kills occurred reduced cattle carcass consumption by >40% (or about 30 kg per carcass per lion). Lions killed significantly more cattle in nonfortified enclosures than in the veldt, although this was influenced by surplus killing. Our results suggest that cattle predation by lions is driven by availability and cavalier husbandry practices, coupled with morphological features associated with facilitating easy husbandry. Cattle no longer exhibit the key features that enabled their ancestors to coexist with large predators and are now reliant upon humans to perform critical antipredator activities. Hence, the responsibility for mitigating human–wildlife conflict involving lions and cattle lies with people in either breeding traits that minimise predation or adequately protecting their cattle. en_ZA
dc.description.department Mammal Research Institute en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.librarian hj2020 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The National Geographic Society Big Cats Initiative, grant numbers B5-15, B10-16, B6-17, and Stichting SPOTS, grant number PIOP_2018. M.W.H. and M.J.S. were funded by the Australia–Africa Universities Network Partnership Research and Development Fund 2018. F.J.W. was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship of the University of Pretoria, number 16407522. en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Weise, F.J., Tomeletso, M., Stein, A.B. et al. 2020, 'Lions Panthera leo prefer killing certain cattle Bos taurus types', Animals, vol. 10, no. 4, art. 692, pp. 1-12. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2076-2615 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.3390/ani10040692
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher MDPI en_ZA
dc.rights © 2020 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. en_ZA
dc.subject Prey preferences en_ZA
dc.subject Predator–prey interactions en_ZA
dc.subject Livestock en_ZA
dc.subject Feeding ecology en_ZA
dc.subject Domestication en_ZA
dc.subject Conflict en_ZA
dc.subject Evolution en_ZA
dc.subject Antipredator strategies en_ZA
dc.subject Unnatural selection en_ZA
dc.subject Lion (Panthera leo) en_ZA
dc.subject Cattle en_ZA
dc.title Lions Panthera leo prefer killing certain cattle Bos taurus types en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

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