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Trade-offs between feeding competition and predation risk in baboons

Cowlishaw, Guy Charles; (1994) Trade-offs between feeding competition and predation risk in baboons. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study investigates the influence of feeding competition and predation risk on the behaviour and ecology of baboons. Four groups of chacma baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) were habituated and studied over 12 months between 1990-91 in the Pro-Namib desert region of Namibia. Each group differed in size and composition (with 1-6 adult males occupying groups of between 22-55 members), but their ranges overlapped extensively. Additional data were collected describing (1) food quality and availability and (2) biologically relevant measures of predation risk. The results suggest that contest competition for food or safety was minimal both within and between groups in this population. However, scramble competition for food did occur, despite high levels of food availability. Female reproductive state had little influence on feeding or anti-predator behaviour. Females and individuals in small groups were shown to be at the greatest risk of predation, and responded as predicted by exhibiting the highest levels of anti-predator behaviour. Habitat use reflected a trade-off between food availability and the reduction of both diurnal and nocturnal predation risk. Individual spatial position within groups was influenced by male reproductive strategies and predation risk, although social constraints might also have been present. Vigilance in males reflected reproductive strategies while in females vigilance was aimed at predator detection. Trade-offs between foraging and predation risk were suggested in the patterns of home range habitat composition, the use of habitat in the home range, the presence of scramble feeding competition, the choice of feeding site and the choice of diet. In addition, large groups reduced feeding competition at the expense of increased predation risk. Finally, points of special interest included the reduction of predation risk by both (1) the active use of "rest" time and (2) the defensive behaviour of male group members.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Trade-offs between feeding competition and predation risk in baboons
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106682
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