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Estimating carnivoran diets using a combination of carcass observations and scats from GPS clusters


Tambling, CJ and Laurence, SD and Bellan, SE and Cameron, EZ and du Toit, JT and Getz, WM, Estimating carnivoran diets using a combination of carcass observations and scats from GPS clusters, Journal of Zoology, 286 pp. 102-109. ISSN 0952-8369 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Journal of Zoology.

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00856.x


Scat analysis is one of the most frequently used methods to assess carnivoran diets, and global positioning system (GPS) cluster methods are increasingly being used to locate feeding sites for large carnivorans. However, both methods have inherent biases that limit their use. GPS methods to locate kill sites are biased towards large carcasses, while scat analysis overestimates the biomass consumed from smaller prey. We combined carcass observations and scats collected along known movement routes, assessed using GPS data from four African lion Panthera leo prides in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, to determine how a combination of these two datasets change diet estimates. As expected, using carcasses alone under- estimated the number of feeding events on small species, primarily impala Aepyceros melampus and warthog Phacochoerus africanus, in our case, by more than 50%, and thus significantly underestimated the biomass consumed per pride per day in comparison with when the diet was assessed using carcass observations alone. We show that an approach that supplements carcass observations with scats that enables the identification of potentially missed feeding events increases the estimates of food intake rates for large carnivorans, with possible ramifications for predator–prey interaction studies dealing with biomass intake rate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:African savanna, Kruger National Park, lion, Panthera leo, predation, prey consumption
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:77222
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-03-20
Last Modified:2017-11-01
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