Seasonal habitat use by nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) evaluated with behavioral indicators

Solomon Tadesse, Burt Kotler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) prefer steep terrain in their landscape to reduce risks of predation and human nuisance disturbances. They also use vigilance and time allocation to manage risk of predation. We studied time budgets and habitat selection of Nubian ibex to: (1) identify the habitat variables to which Nubian ibex were behaviorally responsive; (2) investigate how time budget responses of Nubian ibex were related to season, slope condition, group size, and sex-age structure; and (3) develop behavioral-based models that account for the variations in the behaviors of Nubian ibex across the landscape and seasons.To quantify time budgets, we took regular field observations on focal individuals of Nubian ibex classified according to their habitat, group size, sex, and age. For each focal observation, we quantified environmental variables that were thought to influence the behavioral responses of ibex. Then, we developed behavioral models by correlating the proportion of behaviors measured in focal animal observations to the influential environmental variables. The behaviors of Nubian ibex significantly varied with sex and age structure, season, habitat type, and slope conditions. Adult females are more vigilant than adult male ibex, especially in the spring. This correlates with breeding and nursing activities. Based on the characteristics of the habitat, ibex behave to minimize risks of predation and human nuisance disturbances while maximizing their food intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-246
Number of pages24
JournalIsrael Journal of Ecology and Evolution
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • behavioral models
  • focal observation
  • human nuisance disturbances
  • risks of predation
  • time budgets
  • vigilance

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