The Influence of Social Interactions, Environmental Factors, and Predators on Behavior of Range Cattle
AuthorKluever, Bryan Michael
AdvisorHowery, Larry D.
Committee ChairHowery, Larry D.
Breck, Stewart W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn wild ungulates vigilance is a critical behavior to guard against predation risk. Because large predators are expanding into habitats shared with domestic livestock understanding the factors that influence vigilance and other behaviors (i.e., foraging behavior, forage consumption rates, space use) will help to better manage livestock. My objective was to use observational and experimental techniques to: 1) examine the influence of predation events, social interactions, and environmental factors on vigilance of range cattle, and 2) determine if cattle behave differently when exposed to predatory stimuli representing different species. In the observational field study, vigilance in range cattle was influenced by group size and whether or not a cow had a calf. Cattle in large groups increased vigilance as visual obstruction increased. Cattle whose calves were killed by predators increased vigilance and decreased foraging rates but behavior approached baseline levels after 10 to 12 days. In the experimental study, cattle were more vigilant, foraged less, and avoided areas containing wolf stimuli. My studies provide evidence that predators can have indirect effects on the behavior of cattle.