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Data from: Residential development alters behavior, movement, and energetics in an apex predator, the puma

Cite this dataset

Wang, Yiwei; Smith, Justine A.; Wilmers, Christopher C. (2018). Data from: Residential development alters behavior, movement, and energetics in an apex predator, the puma [Dataset]. Dryad.


Human development strongly influences large carnivore survival and persistence globally. Behavior changes are often the first measureable responses to human disturbances, and can have ramifications on animal populations and ecological communities. We investigated how a large carnivore responds to anthropogenic disturbances by measuring activity, movement behavior, and energetics in pumas along a housing density gradient. We used log-linear analyses to examine how habitat, time of day, and proximity to housing influenced the activity patterns of both male and female pumas in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We used spatial GPS location data in combination with Overall Dynamic Body Acceleration measurements recorded by onboard accelerometers to quantify how development density affected the average distances traveled and energy expended by pumas. Pumas responded to development differently depending on the time of day; at night, they were generally more active and moved further when they were in developed areas, but these relationships were not consistent during the day. Higher nighttime activity in developed areas increased daily caloric expenditure by 10.1% for females and 11.6% for males, resulting in increases of 3.4 and 4.0 deer prey required annually by females and males respectively. Our results support that pumas have higher energetic costs and resource requirements in human-dominated habitats due to human-induced behavioral change. Increased energetic costs for pumas are likely to have ramifications on prey species and exacerbate human-wildlife conflict, especially as exurban growth continues. Future conservation work should consider the consequences of behavioral shifts on animal energetics, individual fitness, and population viability.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: #0963022 and #1255913,