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How territoriality and sociality influence the habitat selection and movement of a large carnivore
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  • Katherine Hansen,
  • Nathan Ranc,
  • John Morgan,
  • Neil Jordan,
  • J. Weldon McNutt,
  • Alan Wilson,
  • Christopher Wilmers
Katherine Hansen
University of California Santa Cruz Department of Environmental Studies

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nathan Ranc
Université de Toulouse
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John Morgan
University of California Santa Cruz Department of Environmental Studies
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Neil Jordan
University of New South Wales
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J. Weldon McNutt
Botswana Predator Conservation Trust
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Alan Wilson
The Royal Veterinary College
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Christopher Wilmers
University of California
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1. While territoriality is one of the key mechanisms influencing carnivore space use, most studies quantify resource selection and movement in the absence of conspecific influence or territorial structure without inference on resource selection processes. 2. Our analysis incorporated intra-specific competition in a resource selection framework, via territorial data of conspecifics, to investigate mechanisms of territoriality and to better understand the role of neighboring packs on African wild dog habitat selection. We fit integrated step selection functions to 3-hour GPS data from 12 collared wild dog packs in the Okavango Delta, and estimated selection coefficients using a conditional Poisson likelihood with random effects. 3. Packs selected for the outline of their neighbors’ 30-day boundary (defined as their 90% kernel density estimate), and for the outline of their own 90-day core (defined as their 50% kernel density estimate). Neighbors’ 30-day boundary had a greater influence on resource selection than any habitat feature. Habitat selection differed when they were within versus beyond their neighbors’ 30-day boundary. 4. Pack size, pack age, pup presence, and seasonality all mediated how packs responded to neighbors, and seasonal dynamics altered the strength of residency. While newly-formed packs and packs with pups avoided their neighbors’ boundary, older packs and those without pups selected for it. Packs also selected for the boundary of larger neighboring packs more strongly than that of smaller ones. 5. Social structure within packs has implications for how they interact with conspecifics, and therefore how they are distributed across the landscape. Future research should continue to investigate how territorial processes are mediated by social dynamics and, in turn, how territorial structure mediates resource selection and movement. These results could inform the development of a human-wildlife conflict (HWC) mitigation tool by co-opting the mechanisms of conspecific interactions to manage space use of endangered carnivores.
22 Sep 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
28 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
28 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
03 Oct 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
06 Feb 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Feb 2024Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
08 Mar 2024Submission Checks Completed
08 Mar 2024Assigned to Editor
08 Mar 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Mar 2024Editorial Decision: Accept