We evaluated long-term patterns of human-caused mortality among free-living spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) in a Kenyan game reserve and also assessed nonlethal anthropogenic effects on hyena behavior. We monitored naturally occurring vigilance in 2 clans of hyenas, 1 disturbed and the other undisturbed. The disturbed clan, living on the edge of the reserve, experienced much human disturbance from both tour vehicles and livestock grazing, whereas the undisturbed clan, living in the center of the reserve, also experienced tour vehicles but no livestock grazing. The proportion of all deaths with known causes that could be attributed to humans increased between 1988 and 2006 in the disturbed population; humans caused no mortality in the undisturbed population. Disturbed hyenas were more than twice as vigilant when resting, and they nursed their young closer to bushes, than undisturbed hyenas. Disturbed hyenas also were most vigilant on days when livestock were present in their territory, but we observed no effects of tourism on hyena vigilance. We next conducted playback experiments in which we used cowbells as treatment sounds and church bells as control sounds to determine whether hyenas from the 2 clans responded differently. After hearing cowbells, disturbed hyenas increased their vigilance more than did undisturbed hyenas. However, disturbed hyenas also increased their vigilance after hearing church bells, suggesting that disturbed hyenas may exhibit heightened responsiveness to a wide array of anthropogenic sound stimuli. Our findings suggest that human activities related to pastoralism are having measurable effects on hyena mortality, and that hyenas appear to be responding to this threat by modifying their behavior.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 91 • No. 1