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Ungulate spatiotemporal responses to contrasting predation risk from wolves and snow leopards

Cite this dataset

Kachel, Shannon et al. (2022). Ungulate spatiotemporal responses to contrasting predation risk from wolves and snow leopards [Dataset]. Dryad.


Spatial responses to risk from multiple predators can precipitate emergent consequences for prey (i.e., multiple-predator effects, MPEs) and mediate indirect interactions between predators. How prey navigate risk from multiple predators may therefore have important ramifications for understanding the propagation of predation-risk effects (PREs) through ecosystems. The interaction of predator and prey traits has emerged as a potentially key driver of anti-predator behaviour but remains underexplored in large vertebrate systems, particularly where sympatric prey share multiple predators. We sought to better generalize our understanding of how predators influence their ecosystems by considering how multiple sources of contingency drive prey distribution in a multi-predator-multi-prey system. Specifically, we explored how two sympatric ungulates with different escape tactics – vertically agile, scrambling ibex (Capra sibirica) and sprinting argali (Ovis ammon) – responded to predation risk from shared predators with contrasting hunting modes – cursorial wolves (Canis lupus) and vertical-ambushing, stalking snow leopards (Panthera uncia). Contrasting risk posed by the two predators presented prey with clear trade-offs. Ibex selected for greater exposure to chronic long-term risk from snow leopards, and argali for wolves, in a nearly symmetrical manner that was predictable based on the compatibility of their respective traits. Yet, acute short-term risk from the same predator upended these long-term strategies, increasing each ungulate’s exposure to risk from the alternate predator in a manner consistent with a scenario in which conflicting anti-predator behaviours precipitate risk-enhancing MPEs and mediate predator facilitation. By contrast, reactive responses to wolves led ibex to reduce their exposure to risk from both predators – a risk-reducing MPE. Evidence of a similar reactive risk-reducing effect for argali vis-à-vis snow leopards was lacking. Our results suggest that prey spatial responses and any resulting MPEs and prey-mediated interactions between predators are contingent on the interplay of hunting mode and escape tactics. Further investigation of interactions among various drivers of contingency in PREs will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding and improved forecasting of the ecological effects of predators. 


Data and scripts underlying the manuscript "Ungulate spatiotemporal responses to contrasting predation risk from wolves and snow leopards."

The data provided are derived from spatiotemporal location data recorded October 2015–October 2018 for snow leopards (Panthera uncia), wolves (Canis lupus), Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), and argali (Ovis ammon) in and around the Sarychat-Ertash Reserve in the Jeti-Oguz region of the Issyk Kul Province of the Kyrgyz Republic. For wolves and snow leopards, location data were recorded via GPS collars (Vectronic) set to attempt 1 fix for 180 s every 4 h (wolves) or 5 h (snow leopards). In total, 7 snow leopards and 2 wolves were collared. Ibex and argali location data were documented via direct observations recorded during point and transect surveys. 

Raw location data are not provided in compliance with permitting agreements.

Usage notes

Data are provided as .zip folders containing .csv, .tif, .shp, and .Rdata files. Accompanying code is provided as .R scripts.


National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, Award: DEG-125608

Panthera Biopartners (United States)