Said S.,Center National Detudes Et Of Recherches Appliquees Cervides Sanglier Montfort |
Tolon V.,Center National Detudes Et Of Recherches Appliquees Cervides Sanglier Montfort |
Tolon V.,University of Savoy |
Tolon V.,University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 |
And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2012
Spatial variation of the 'predation risk' due to human activities or distribution may increase the sexual difference in habitat selection. Indeed, females with offspring are usually more risk adverse than males. Based on a long-term wild boar study, we analysed the diurnal distribution of female and male wild boar before, during and after the hunting period. Hunting, food and foliation were investigated as factors affecting patterns of forest parcel selection. As expected, dense vegetative covers were selected during resting periods, but wild boar decreased this pattern of habitat selection in response to hunting disturbance. Moreover, the habitat selection of wild boar did not fit with the variation of food availability (presence or absence of mast) and the vegetation cycle. As expected, sows responded more to the hunting disturbance than males, leading to a more pronounced sexual difference during the riskier season. The unexpected decrease of bush use may be explained either by the increased hunting effort in this habitat or by the increased movements between resting sites due to disturbance, leading to a more random habitat selection pattern. The observed difference between sexes could result from a higher response of females with offspring to hunting, leading to an increased frequentation of secondary habitats, whereas males can tolerate more risks and remain hidden in thicket plots. Our results highlight how hunting disturbance can lead game species to change their patterns of refuge habitat selection and may affect the habitat segregation between the sexes. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.