• Too much of a good thing? A landscape-of-fear analysis for collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu) reveals hikers act as a greater deterrent than thorny or bitter food

      Bleicher, Sonny S.; Rosenzweig, Michael L.; Univ Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol (CANADIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING, NRC RESEARCH PRESS, 2018-04)
      To study how wildlife perceive recreating humans, we studied the habitat selection of a human commensalist, the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu (Linnaeus, 1758)). We measured peccary activity patterns in an area of high human activity (Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, USA) using a landscape-of-fear analysis. We examined whether the perception of risk from human activity interacted with the chemical (tannin) and mechanical (thorns) antipredator mechanisms of local plant species. The peccaries avoided food stations near a hiking trail. The population foraged less near houses, i.e., moderate human activity, than in the perceived safety of a small wadi. Plant defence treatments impacted the harvesting of food only in the safe zone, suggesting that risk trumps food selectivity. The strong effect of the hiking trail on habitat selection in this disturbance-loving species is an indicator of a much larger impact on sensitive species in conservation areas.