14 research outputs found

    Quantifying direct and indirect contacts for the potential transmission of infection between species using a multilayer contact network

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    Detecting opportunities for between-species transmission of pathogens can be challenging, particularly if rare behaviours or environmental transmission are involved. We present a multilayer network framework to quantify transmission potential in multi-host systems, incorporating environmental transmission, by using empirical data on direct and indirect contacts between European badgers Meles meles and domestic cattle. We identify that indirect contacts via the environment at badger latrines on pasture are likely to be important for transmission within badger populations and between badgers and cattle. We also find a positive correlation between the role of individual badgers within the badger social network, and their role in the overall badger-cattle-environment network, suggesting that the same behavioural traits contribute to the role of individual badgers in within- and between-species transmission. These findings have implications for disease management interventions in this system, and our novel network approach can provide general insights into transmission in other multi-host disease systems

    Harnessing learning biases is essential for applying social learning in conservation

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    Social learning can influence how animals respond to anthropogenic changes in the environment, determining whether animals survive novel threats and exploit novel resources or produce maladaptive behaviour and contribute to human-wildlife conflict. Predicting where social learning will occur and manipulating its use are, therefore, important in conservation, but doing so is not straightforward. Learning is an inherently biased process that has been shaped by natural selection to prioritize important information and facilitate its efficient uptake. In this regard, social learning is no different from other learning processes because it too is shaped by perceptual filters, attentional biases and learning constraints that can differ between habitats, species, individuals and contexts. The biases that constrain social learning are not understood well enough to accurately predict whether or not social learning will occur in many situations, which limits the effective use of social learning in conservation practice. Nevertheless, we argue that by tapping into the biases that guide the social transmission of information, the conservation applications of social learning could be improved. We explore the conservation areas where social learning is highly relevant and link them to biases in the cues and contexts that shape social information use. The resulting synthesis highlights many promising areas for collaboration between the fields and stresses the importance of systematic reviews of the evidence surrounding social learning practices.BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (BB/H021817/1

    Positive and negative interactions with humans concurrently affect vervet monkey, Chlorocebus pygerythrus, ranging behavior

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    Many non-human primates adjust their behavior and thrive in human-altered habitats, including towns and cities. Studying anthropogenic influences from an animal’s perspective can increase our understanding of their behavioral flexibility, presenting important information for human-wildlife cohabitation management plans. Currently, research on anthropogenically disturbed wildlife considers either positive or negative aspects of human-wildlife encounters independently, highlighting a need to consider potential interactions between both aspects. Vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus, are a suitable species to address this gap in research as they tolerate urbanization, however, they are understudied in urban landscapes. We conducted this in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where vervet monkeys are commonly found throughout the anthropogenic landscape. Here we determined, from a monkey’s perspective, how the frequency and nature of human-monkey interactions, both positive (food-related) and negative (human-monkey conflict), affected vervet monkey ranging patterns in an urban environment. Over a year, we assessed the movement patterns of three groups of urban vervet monkeys over one year, analyzing both 95% and 50% kernel density estimates of their home ranges alongside daily path lengths and path sinuosities every month using generalized linear mixed models. Overall, we found that human interactions within the urban landscape affected all measures of ranging to some degree. The core home ranges of vervet monkeys increased with a higher rate of positive human encounters and their total home range increased with an interaction of both positive and negative human encounters. Furthermore, vervet monkeys were less likely to respond (i.e. increase daily path length or path sinuosity) to human aggression when food rewards were high, suggesting that effective management should focus on reducing human-food foraging opportunities. Our results highlight the complex interplay between positive and negative aspects of urban living and provide guidance for managers of human-nonhuman primate interactions

    Scoping review of indicators and methods of measurement used to evaluate the impact of dog population management interventions

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    Background: Dogs are ubiquitous in human society and attempts to manage their populations are common to most countries. Managing dog populations is achieved through a range of interventions to suit the dog population dynamics and dog ownership characteristics of the location, with a number of potential impacts or goals in mind. Impact assessment provides the opportunity for interventions to identify areas of inefficiencies for improvement and build evidence of positive change. Methods: This scoping review collates 26 studies that have assessed the impacts of dog population management interventions. Results: It reports the use of 29 indicators of change under 8 categories of impact and describes variation in the methods used to measure these indicators. Conclusion: The relatively few published examples of impact assessment in dog population management suggest this field is in its infancy; however this review highlights those notable exceptions. By describing those indicators and methods of measurement that have been reported thus far, and apparent barriers to efficient assessment, this review aims to support and direct future impact assessment