Next Article in Journal
Single Layer Centrifugation Improves the Quality of Fresh Donkey Semen and Modifies the Sperm Ability to Interact with Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils
Previous Article in Journal
How Volatile Compounds, Oxidative Profile and Sensory Evaluation Can Change with Vacuum Aging in Donkey Meat
Article

Vultures and Livestock: The Where, When, and Why of Visits to Farms

1
Department of Conservation Biology, Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), C/Américo Vespucio 26, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
2
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112127
Received: 15 October 2020 / Revised: 11 November 2020 / Accepted: 12 November 2020 / Published: 16 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Birds)
The abandonment of carcasses around livestock farms has been recently legalized in Europe. Since little is known about how vultures use this kind of resource, we aimed to determine the main drivers of vultures’ visits to farms. We evaluated the effects of characteristics of both birds and farms regarding the way that vultures visit farms thanks to data collected from 45 GPS-tagged Egyptian Vultures and most farms on Fuerteventura Island, Spain (318 farms with >94% of insular livestock). We found that farms were more visited when they were located close to highly predictable feeding places, when they had more available food, and during the vulture breeding season, whereas farms located close to roads and vultures’ breeding territories received fewer visits. Younger territorial birds visited a farm more frequently than older territorial ones, whereas older non-territorial individuals concentrated those visits on farms closer to their main centers of activity compared with younger ones. Our findings indicate that visits to farms were determined by their spatial distribution regarding bird activity centers, availability of carcasses, seasonality, and vulture characteristics. Hence, these factors should be considered in vulture conservation, avoiding very general solutions that ignore population structure and that could be not enough to protect the biodiversity.
Recent changes in European legislation have legalized the abandonment of carcasses around livestock farms, but our understanding of how vultures exploit these semi-predictable food sources is still very limited. For filling this gap, we determine the individual and ecological drivers influencing vulture visits to farms. We assessed the effects of individual characteristics of both birds and farms on the frequency of vultures’ visits to livestock facilities using data collected from 45 GPS-tagged Egyptian Vultures (Neophron percnopterus) and 318 farms (>94% of livestock) on Fuerteventura Island, Spain. Farms were more visited during the vultures’ breeding season. Farms located closer to highly predictable feeding places (i.e., vulture restaurants and garbage dumps) or with more available feeding resources were visited by more vultures, whereas those located close to roads and vultures’ breeding territories received fewer visits. Younger territorial birds visited a farm more frequently than older territorial ones, whereas older non-territorial individuals concentrated those visits on farms closer to their activity core areas compared with younger ones. Our findings indicate that visits to farms were determined by their spatial distribution in relation to the age-specific birds’ activity centers, the availability of carcasses, seasonality, and individual characteristics of vultures. These interacting factors should be considered in vulture conservation, avoiding very general solutions that ignore population structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; Egyptian Vultures; foraging behavior; GPS tracking; livestock farms; supplementary feeding stations; Canary Islands biodiversity conservation; Egyptian Vultures; foraging behavior; GPS tracking; livestock farms; supplementary feeding stations; Canary Islands
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

García-Alfonso, M.; van Overveld, T.; Gangoso, L.; Serrano, D.; Donázar, J.A. Vultures and Livestock: The Where, When, and Why of Visits to Farms. Animals 2020, 10, 2127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112127

AMA Style

García-Alfonso M, van Overveld T, Gangoso L, Serrano D, Donázar JA. Vultures and Livestock: The Where, When, and Why of Visits to Farms. Animals. 2020; 10(11):2127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112127

Chicago/Turabian Style

García-Alfonso, Marina, Thijs van Overveld, Laura Gangoso, David Serrano, and José A. Donázar 2020. "Vultures and Livestock: The Where, When, and Why of Visits to Farms" Animals 10, no. 11: 2127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112127

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop