Interacting lethal and nonlethal human activities shape complex risk tolerance behaviors in a mountain herbivore - Département Systèmes et Circuits Intégrés Numériques Access content directly
Journal Articles Ecological Applications Year : 2022

Interacting lethal and nonlethal human activities shape complex risk tolerance behaviors in a mountain herbivore

Abstract

Animals perceive human activities as risky and generally respond with fear-induced proactive behaviors to buffer the circadian patterns of lethal and nonlethal disturbances, such as diel migrations (DMs) between risky places during safe nighttime and safer places during risky daytime. However, such responses potentially incur costs through movement or reduced foraging time, so individuals should adjust their tolerance when human activities are harmless, through habituation. Yet this is a challenging cognitive task when lethal and nonlethal risks co-occur, forming complex landscapes of fear. The consequences of this human-induced complexity have, however, rarely been assessed. We studied the individual DM dynamics of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra), 89 GPS-tracked individual-years, from/to trails in the French Alps in areas with co-occurring lethal (hunting) and nonlethal (hiking and skiing) disturbances, with different intensities across seasons. We developed a conceptual framework relying on the risk-disturbance hypothesis and habituation to predict tolerance adjustments of chamois under various disturbance contexts and across contrasted seasonal periods. Based on spatial and statistical analyses combining periodograms and multinomial logistic models, we found that DM in relation to distance to a trail was a consistent response by chamois (similar to 85% of individuals) to avoid human disturbance during daytime, especially during the hiking and hunting periods. Such behavior revealed a low tolerance of most chamois to human activities, although there was considerable interindividual heterogeneity in DM. Interestingly, there was an increased tolerance among the most disturbed diel migrants, potentially through habituation, with chamois performing shorter DMs in areas highly disturbed by hikers. Crucially, chamois that were most human-habituated during the hiking period remained more tolerant in the subsequent harvesting period, which could increase their risk of being harvested. In contrast, individuals less tolerant to hiking performed longer DMs when hunting risk increased, and compared to hiking, hunting exacerbated the threshold distance to trails triggering DMs. No carryover effect of hunting beyond the hunting period was observed. In conclusion, complex human-induced landscapes of fear with co-occurring disturbances by nature-based tourism and hunting may shape unexpected patterns of tolerance to human activities, whereby animal tolerance could become potentially deleterious for individual survival.
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Dates and versions

hal-03694845 , version 1 (27-03-2024)

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Nicolas Courbin, Mathieu Garel, Pascal Marchand, Antoine Duparc, Lucie Debeffe, et al.. Interacting lethal and nonlethal human activities shape complex risk tolerance behaviors in a mountain herbivore. Ecological Applications, 2022, 32 (7), pp.e2640. ⟨10.1002/eap.2640⟩. ⟨hal-03694845⟩
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