Social networks of spotted hyaenas in areas of contrasting human activity and infrastructure
Belton, LE and Cameron, EZ and Dalerum, F, Social networks of spotted hyaenas in areas of contrasting human activity and infrastructure, Animal Behaviour, 135 pp. 13-23. ISSN 0003-3472 (2018) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2017 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
In group-living animals, the structure of social interactions among group members can have important consequences for individual fitness. Changes in resource abundance can influence social interactions with an expected weakening of social ties during times of resource scarcity. Although human activity and infrastructure often impose a disturbance on animal populations, they can also be a source of reliable resources that are relatively easy to access. We evaluated whether the social networks differed between four spotted hyaena, Crocuta crocuta, clans experiencing contrasting levels of human activity and infrastructure in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. The clan living in an area of high human activity and infrastructure had a less dense social network than the other clans, and the clan living in an area with limited human activity and infrastructure had shorter path lengths than the other clans, suggesting that it had more closely associated individuals. Our results did not support substantial differences between clans in the relative social network positions of animals from different age and rank classes. Contrary to our expectations, we suggest that anthropogenic resources may have weakened the social cohesiveness within spotted hyaena clans. We also argue that our study supports previous suggestions that there may be individual variation within broader classes of rank, age and sex in the position of individual animals in social networks.
wildlife management, anthropogenic, Carnivora, graph theory, large carnivore, social interactions, social network, sociality