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Foraging in fear: spatial variation in range use, vigilance, and perceived risk in Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus)

Citation

Ayers, Alec; Allan, Andrew; Hill, Russell (2020), Foraging in fear: spatial variation in range use, vigilance, and perceived risk in Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rn8pk0p7h

Abstract

Spatial variation in predation risk can lead to behavioural modifications including increased vigilance and avoidance. Coined the landscape of fear, previous studies have suggested that an animal’s spatial perception of risk is the most critical landscape within their environment. Few studies have integrated the landscape of fear with spatial measures of risk and assessments of resource availability within a single analytical framework. We assessed whether long-term space use in chacma baboons was influenced by the distribution of key resources, perceived risk and the probability of encountering threats. We also assessed whether vigilance, varied spatially in response to potential threats. Contrary to expectations, perceived risk was primarily related to other baboon groups rather than predators, with the baboons modifying their range use to reduce intergroup encounters. In contrast, the probability of encountering leopards was the primary determinant of spatial variation in vigilance behaviour. Collectively, while other groups have a greater influence on space use, the baboons are critically aware of the predation risk landscape, modifying their vigilance strategies in response to leopards. Baboons thus use different long-term strategies to alleviate the risks imposed by different threats. Our methodological approaches provide a framework for future studies looking to tease apart these effects.