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1 October 2008 Mapping the Landscape of Fear of the Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris)
Marius van der Merwe, Joel S. Brown
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Abstract

The suitability of a habitat to an animal includes food availability, physical and climatic factors, population interactions, and safety from predators. Mappings of vegetation, soils, and microclimates across ecological landscapes have become standard and important tools for assessing an animal's habitat. More elusive to the researcher, yet of equal importance to the animal, has been the ability to map the predation risk perceived by an animal. Laundré et al., in developing the concept, defined the landscape of fear as the spatial map of the animal's predation cost of foraging. We mapped this landscape of predation costs by measuring the use of depletable food patches (yielding giving up densities [GUDs]) arranged as a grid across the landscape of interest. The landscapes of fear for 3 colonies of Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) in Augrabies Falls National Park, South Africa, revealed large and distinct spatial variation in predation costs that appeared to be governed primarily by proximity to burrows and open sight lines. By converting the GUDs into quitting harvest rates (joules per minute), we believe we have translated the animals' perceptions of risk into a physical map whose contours across the landscape represent lines of equal foraging costs. Among the 3 colonies only 3–22% of the space resulted in low foraging costs (<2,500 J/min), whereas 31–92% of the sampled areas represented very high foraging costs (>5,000 J/min).

Marius van der Merwe and Joel S. Brown "Mapping the Landscape of Fear of the Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris)," Journal of Mammalogy 89(5), 1162-1169, (1 October 2008). https://doi.org/10.1644/08-MAMM-A-035.1
Accepted: 1 February 2008; Published: 1 October 2008
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