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18 May 2023 Influence of Cattle Grazing on the Spatiotemporal Activity of Wildlife
Molly R. Caldwell, J. Mario K. Klip
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Abstract

Cattle (Bos taurus) grazing on public lands is widespread across the globe. Public rangelands are managed for multiple purposes, including preservation of wildlife populations; therefore, to manage public rangelands, it is imperative to understand how cattle grazing affects wildlife. Despite this, there is mixed evidence for the impacts of cattle on wildlife and few studies investigate both spatial and temporal aspects of wildlife activity. To improve understanding of how cattle grazing impacts spatiotemporal wildlife activity, we analyzed camera data from three California Department of Fish and Wildlife properties in California, the United States from 2019 to 2021. We recorded 2 863 detections of cattle across all properties and the most abundant wildlife were coyotes (Canis latrans, 572 detections) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus; 1 415 detections). We used generalized linear mixed models and daily activity estimates to quantify cattle, coyote, and mule deer spatial and temporal activity and compared activity during grazing and nongrazing periods (properties were grazed 3-6 mo per year) and between sites with higher and lower cattle use. Mule deer spatial activity changed seasonally and at one property decreased during grazing seasons, but there were no overall significant effects of cattle detections on mule deer spatial activity. However, deer were more nocturnal at sites with higher cattle use, indicating that they may have been partitioning areas temporally with cattle. This shift in activity also increased deer overlap with more nocturnal species, like coyotes. Coyotes increased use of sites with higher activity of their prey and increased use of times with higher cattle activity. Our study suggests that low to moderate cattle grazing does not result in significant spatial displacement of common large mammals; however, shifts in temporal activity patterns of wildlife due to cattle presence may impact predator-prey interactions and wildlife energy expenditure and needs further monitoring.

Molly R. Caldwell and J. Mario K. Klip "Influence of Cattle Grazing on the Spatiotemporal Activity of Wildlife," Rangeland Ecology and Management 88(1), 122-128, (18 May 2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2023.02.011
Received: 12 August 2022; Accepted: 27 February 2023; Published: 18 May 2023
KEYWORDS
cattle
coyote
grazing
mule deer
spatiotemporal activity
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