Responses of Predator and Prey to Cattle Grazing in Mediterranean Landscapes
Frequently, Mediterranean natural and semi-natural areas will undergo cattle grazing as a form of fire fuel reduction management. Grazing management causes reduction of vegetation height and changes its structure, and modifies landscape attributes that may alter wildlife’s behavior, movement patterns, dynamics and habitat use. I used a multi-species approach to understand indirect and direct effects of cattle grazing on mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella) patch use preferences in relation to two potential predators of gazelle neonates, golden jackal (Canis aureus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). A fine scale camera trap design (0.01 km2 grid) in Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park in the Mediterranean region of Israel was used to determine gazelle habitat and patch preferences in response to grazing using N-mixture models.
I found that cattle-grazing decreases female gazelle detectability and activity, and at the same time attracts potential predators during the most sensitive time of the year for gazelle – the parturition and the critical first five weeks of the fawns’ lives. I conclude that grazing management acts as a disturbance for gazelles and increases risk for neonates.
Shamoon, H., Dayan, T., & Saltz, D. (2017). Cattle grazing effects on mountain gazelles in Mediterranean natural landscapes. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21323
Fine-scale camera trap grid to assess predator-prey interactions in cattle grazed pastures