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Molly R. Caldwell, J. Mario K. Klip
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Tourist activity in natural areas may impact species' behavior and ecology as well as predator-prey dynamics. Although previous research has demonstrated effects of human disturbance on wildlife communities, only a limited number of studies have focused on small mammals and coyote predator-prey systems. To generate an overview of human impacts on these wildlife communities, we analyzed camera trap data from a human-disturbed site at Lake Tahoe, California. To compare species' activity patterns in relation to distances from human-disturbed areas, we used single-species occupancy models, estimations of species' temporal activity overlaps, and the time between detections of different species at camera sites. We found that in general black bears (Ursus americanus) avoided areas of high human disturbance, whereas coyotes (Canis latrans), rodents, and lagomorphs favored them. However, rodents and lagomorphs also avoided areas with high coyote detections, indicating that rodents and lagomorphs mostly used human-disturbed areas that were not highly frequented by coyotes. Additionally, all aforementioned species avoided humans temporally and this avoidance increased in closer proximity to human-disturbed areas. These findings indicate that while some species frequented human-disturbed areas more than others, all species studied exhibited greater temporal avoidance of humans when closer to areas of higher human activity. Our results also indicate that rodents' and lagomorphs' activity patterns overlapped more with coyotes' activity patterns closer to human-disturbed areas and rodents and lagomorphs avoided coyotes less in these areas. The greater overlap of the species' activity patterns suggests that there is likely more interaction between coyotes and their prey closer to areas of high human activity. The changes in the behavior and ecology of wildlife communities closer to human-disturbed areas reported here emphasize how proximity to human-disturbed areas may influence both predator and prey demographics.

Molly R. Caldwell and J. Mario K. Klip "PATTERNS OF WILDLIFE ACTIVITY AND PREDATOR-PREY DYNAMICS IN A HIGHLY TOURISTED AREA," The Southwestern Naturalist 66(1), 35-47, (27 April 2022).
Received: 9 October 2019; Accepted: 4 November 2021; Published: 27 April 2022
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