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Biol Lett. 2008 Apr 23;4(2):170-2.

Experimental evidence of competitive release in sympatric carnivores.

Author information

  • 1Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK. i.trewby@csl.gov.uk

Abstract

Changes in the relative abundance of sympatric carnivores can have far-reaching ecological consequences, including the precipitation of trophic cascades and species declines. While such observations are compelling, experimental evaluations of interactions among carnivores remain scarce and are both logistically and ethically challenging. Carnivores are nonetheless a particular focus of management practices owing to their roles as predators of livestock and as vectors and reservoirs of zoonotic diseases. Here, we provide evidence from a replicated and controlled experiment that culling Eurasian badgers Meles meles for disease control was associated with increases in red fox Vulpes vulpes densities of 1.6-2.3 foxes km-2. This unique experiment demonstrates the importance of intraguild relations in determining species abundance and of assessing the wider consequences of intervention in predator populations.

PMID:
18089523
PMCID:
PMC2429918
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2007.0516
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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