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15 March 2021 Space use and activity of capybaras in an urban area
Samara Serra-Medeiros, Zaida Ortega, Pamela Castro Antunes, Heitor Miraglia Herrera, Luiz Gustavo Rodrigues Oliveira-Santos
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Abstract

Due to the rapid growth of urban environments, interactions between animals and humans in cities are increasingly common. Large mammals, such as capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), provide benefits to people and biodiversity of urban areas, but can also result in conflicts, such as animal–vehicle collisions or disease transmission. As a consequence, understanding the space use of urban capybara, and the effect of human activity on capybaras, is conducive to the promotion of coexistence. We studied the home range and the role of human disturbance on activity and habitat selection of urban capybaras in the city of Campo Grande (Brazil). We monitored nine groups of capybaras living at four parks: two parks subjected to high human visitation on workdays and two on weekends. Home range of the urban capybaras in the study is larger than those reported in previous studies of wild capybaras. The capybaras under study presented a bimodal activity pattern, which was delayed on days of high human presence, increasing animals' nocturnality. In addition, habitat selection was completely altered on days of high human presence, leading animals to increase avoidance of urban areas and reversing the selectivity patterns for forests, grasslands, and water bodies, that capybaras show on days with low human presence. Even when completely surrounded by an anthropic environment, our results indicate that a mosaic of grasslands near a water body and forested areas will allow capybaras to maintain daily activity and large home ranges. However, human presence significantly altered the daily activity patterns and habitat selection of capybara. Urban planners should account for these data to improve the coexistence of capybaras with humans and thereby minimize the potential for conflicts.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org.
Samara Serra-Medeiros, Zaida Ortega, Pamela Castro Antunes, Heitor Miraglia Herrera, and Luiz Gustavo Rodrigues Oliveira-Santos "Space use and activity of capybaras in an urban area," Journal of Mammalogy 102(3), 814-825, (15 March 2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyab005
Received: 10 January 2020; Accepted: 15 January 2021; Published: 15 March 2021
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