Special Issue "Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Graeme Coulson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Interests: Wildlife management; behaviour, ecology and management of overabundant and endangered wildlife; macropods (kangaroos and wallabies)
Prof. Darryl Jones
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Environmental Futures Research Institute and Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan QLD 4111, Australia
Tel. +61 7 3735 7451
Interests: urban ecology and management; road ecology; behavioural ecology; human dimensions of wildlife management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urbanisation is occurring at an increasing rate. This poses a challenge for some wildlife species, which are simply unable to persist in urban landscapes. Others are better adapted to urban living and may even begin to thrive as urban areas expand. Urban-adaptor species continue to adjust their behavior to suit urban life through some combination of learned responses (behavioural flexibility) and genetic adaptation (microevolutionary change). These changes bring street-smart wildlife in contact with essentially urban citizens, often creating conflict. Undesirable behaviours include noise, fouling, road-kill, and attacks on pets and people. A solid understanding of the biological basis for these responses is essential if we are to manage wildlife in urban settings.

Original manuscripts that address these issues are invited for this Special Issue, especially those that explore (1) behavioural adaptation to urban environnments, and (2) understanding the biological basis of behaviour in order to manage urban wildlife.

Assoc. Prof. Graeme Coulson
Prof. Darryl Jones
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • behavioural flexibility
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • urban adaptor
  • urban ecology
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • urban wildlife management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Trial of a Solar-Powered, Cooperative Sensor/Actuator, Opto-Acoustical, Virtual Road-Fence to Mitigate Roadkill in Tasmania, Australia
Animals 2019, 9(10), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100752 - 30 Sep 2019
Abstract
Adjustment for spatial and temporal trends using a Generalised Additive Model with Poisson error also failed to detect a significant VF effect. A simulation study used to estimate the power to detect a statistically significant reduction in roadkill rate gave, for median estimates [...] Read more.
Adjustment for spatial and temporal trends using a Generalised Additive Model with Poisson error also failed to detect a significant VF effect. A simulation study used to estimate the power to detect a statistically significant reduction in roadkill rate gave, for median estimates of reduction of 21%, 48%, and 57%, estimates of power of 0.24, 0.78, and 0.91, respectively. Therefore, this study failed to confirm previously reported estimates of reduction in roadkill rates claimed for this VF of 50%–90%, despite having adequate power to do so. However, point estimates obtained for these three species of reductions ranging from 13% to 32% leave open the question of there being a real but modest effect that was below statistical detection limits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle
Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) Vigilance Behaviour Varies between Human-Modified and Natural Environments
Animals 2019, 9(8), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080494 - 27 Jul 2019
Abstract
Rapid increases in urban land use extent across the globe are creating challenges for many wildlife species. Urban landscapes present a novel environment for many species, yet our understanding of wildlife behavioural adaptations to urban environments is still poor. This study compared the [...] Read more.
Rapid increases in urban land use extent across the globe are creating challenges for many wildlife species. Urban landscapes present a novel environment for many species, yet our understanding of wildlife behavioural adaptations to urban environments is still poor. This study compared the vigilance behaviour of a large mammal in response to urbanisation at a landscape level. Here, we investigate urban (n = 12) and non-urban (n = 12) populations of kangaroos in two regions of Australia, and the relationship between kangaroo vigilance and urbanisation. We used a linear modelling approach to determine whether anti-predator vigilance and the number of vigilant acts performed were influenced by land use type (i.e., urban or non-urban), human population densities, kangaroo demographics, and environmental factors. Kangaroo behaviour differed between the two study regions; kangaroo vigilance was higher in urban than non-urban sites in the southern region, which also had the highest human population densities, however no effect of land use was found in the northern region. Season and sex influenced the vigilance levels across both regions, with higher levels seen in winter and female kangaroos. This study is the first to compare urban and non-urban vigilance of large mammals at a landscape level and provide novel insights into behavioural adaptations of large mammals to urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Music Festival Makes Hedgehogs Move: How Individuals Cope Behaviorally in Response to Human-Induced Stressors
Animals 2019, 9(7), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070455 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
Understanding the impact of human activities on wildlife behavior and fitness can improve their sustainability. In a pilot study, we wanted to identify behavioral responses to anthropogenic stress in an urban species during a semi-experimental field study. We equipped eight urban hedgehogs ( [...] Read more.
Understanding the impact of human activities on wildlife behavior and fitness can improve their sustainability. In a pilot study, we wanted to identify behavioral responses to anthropogenic stress in an urban species during a semi-experimental field study. We equipped eight urban hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus; four per sex) with bio-loggers to record their behavior before and during a mega music festival (2 × 19 days) in Treptower Park, Berlin. We used GPS (Global Positioning System) to monitor spatial behavior, VHF (Very High Frequency)-loggers to quantify daily nest utilization, and accelerometers to distinguish between different behaviors at a high resolution and to calculate daily disturbance (using Degrees of Functional Coupling). The hedgehogs showed clear behavioral differences between the pre-festival and festival phases. We found evidence supporting highly individual strategies, varying between spatial and temporal evasion of the disturbance. Averaging the responses of the individual animals or only examining one behavioral parameter masked these potentially different individual coping strategies. Using a meaningful combination of different minimal-invasive bio-logger types, we were able to show high inter-individual behavioral variance of urban hedgehogs in response to an anthropogenic disturbance, which might be a precondition to persist successfully in urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Flexible Use of Urban Resources by the Yellow Mongoose Cynictis penicillata
Animals 2019, 9(7), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070447 - 16 Jul 2019
Abstract
Several species are negatively impacted by urbanization, while others thrive in urban areas by exploiting anthropogenic habitats matching their pre-existing niche preferences, or by modifying their behavior for urban life. We studied the ecology of a recent urban resident, the yellow mongoose, in [...] Read more.
Several species are negatively impacted by urbanization, while others thrive in urban areas by exploiting anthropogenic habitats matching their pre-existing niche preferences, or by modifying their behavior for urban life. We studied the ecology of a recent urban resident, the yellow mongoose, in an urban ecological estate in South Africa. We assessed urban dwelling yellow mongooses’ diet, spatial and temporal occurrence, home range size, and whenever possible, compared our findings to the published literature on their non-urban conspecifics. Additionally, we evaluated occurrence overlap with residential gardens. Similar to their non-urban counterparts, scat analyses revealed that yellow mongooses in urban areas fed mainly on insects, particularly during spring/summer. In the colder months, anthropogenic items, small mammals and birds in scats increased. Camera trap surveys showed that the mongooses were common in open habitats, similar to previous studies, and exhibited a species-typical bimodal diurnal activity pattern. The occurrence of these mongooses was greater near human residences than at sites further away. Home range sizes were considerably smaller than those of non-urban mongoose. Mongoose occurred in residential gardens, more so during the colder months. The urban yellow mongooses’ diet, habitat preference and activity patterns were similar to non-urban conspecifics. Nonetheless, the exploitation of anthropogenic food sources, occurrence in residential gardens and smaller home range sizes showed that they respond flexibly to urbanization, and these modifications might aid in their success in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Large Terrestrial Bird Adapting Behavior in an Urbanized Zone
Animals 2019, 9(6), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060351 - 13 Jun 2019
Abstract
Wildlife living within urban ecosystems have to adapt or perish. Red-legged Seriema, a large terrestrial bird, are rare in urban ecosystems, however, they have been reported in a medium-sized Brazilian city. We investigated the reasons for this occurrence as well as their behavior. [...] Read more.
Wildlife living within urban ecosystems have to adapt or perish. Red-legged Seriema, a large terrestrial bird, are rare in urban ecosystems, however, they have been reported in a medium-sized Brazilian city. We investigated the reasons for this occurrence as well as their behavior. We assessed the distribution of Seriemas (including fledglings), free-ranging cats, and cat-feeding points provided by humans, and past records of Seriemas in the study area. We discovered that Seriemas are sharing spatial resources with cats without apparent conflicts, and intraspecific competition was important to define the spatial distribution of Seriemas. This species is able to use human-made structures to improve territory defense and opportunistic foraging. Direct and indirect human food provisioning is helping them to survive in the studied area, but is also facilitating the domestication process, which may cause future conflicts with humans and cats. Although Seriemas have inhabited the studied urban area for years, they are still adapting their behaviors for urban life, as they have not yet perceived the dangers of automotive traffic. Our study corroborates that wild species may adapt to urban areas driven by human contact, but it also acts as a trap for the adaptive process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Space Use and Movement of Urban Bobcats
Animals 2019, 9(5), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050275 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
Global urbanization is rapidly changing the landscape for wildlife species that must learn to persist in declining wild spacing, adapt, or risk extinction. Many mesopredators have successfully exploited urban niches, and research on these species in an urban setting offers insights into the [...] Read more.
Global urbanization is rapidly changing the landscape for wildlife species that must learn to persist in declining wild spacing, adapt, or risk extinction. Many mesopredators have successfully exploited urban niches, and research on these species in an urban setting offers insights into the traits that facilitate their success. In this study, we examined space use and activity patterns from GPS-collared bobcats (Lynx rufus) in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, Texas, USA. We found that bobcats select for natural/agricultural features, creeks, and water ways and there is greater home-range overlap in these habitats. They avoid roads and are less likely to have home-range overlap in habitats with more roads. Home-range size is relatively small and overlap relatively high, with older animals showing both greater home-range size and overlap. Simultaneous locations suggest bobcats are neither avoiding nor attracted to one another, despite the high overlap across home ranges. Finally, bobcats are active at all times of day and night. These results suggest that access to natural features and behavioral plasticity may enable bobcats to live in highly developed landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Behavioural Plasticity by Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Response to Human Behaviour
Animals 2019, 9(5), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050244 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Sharing landscapes with humans is an increasingly fraught challenge for wildlife across the globe. While some species benefit from humans by exploiting novel opportunities (e.g., provision of resources or removal of competitors or predators), many wildlife experience harmful effects, either directly through persecution [...] Read more.
Sharing landscapes with humans is an increasingly fraught challenge for wildlife across the globe. While some species benefit from humans by exploiting novel opportunities (e.g., provision of resources or removal of competitors or predators), many wildlife experience harmful effects, either directly through persecution or indirectly through loss of habitat. Consequently, some species have been shown to be attracted to human presence while others avoid us. For any given population of a single species, though, the question of whether they can recognise and change their response to human presence depending on the type of human actions (i.e., either positive or negative) has received little attention to date. In this study, we chose to examine the behavioural plasticity within a single population of eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) to both positive and negative human activity. Within a relatively small and contiguous landscape, we identified areas where kangaroos experience a combination of either low and high frequencies of benign and harmful human disturbances. From six sampling sessions over five months, we found that density and group sizes were higher where humans acted benignly towards them, and that these groups had higher representations of sub-adults and juveniles than where humans had harmful intentions. Importantly, we found that the vital antipredator strategy of increasing group size with distance from cover was not detectable at sites with low and high levels of harm. Our findings suggest that these kangaroos are recognising and adjusting their behavioural response to humans at fine spatial scales, a plasticity trait that may be key to the survival of these species in human dominated landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Do the Calls of a Bird, the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala), Need Adjustment for Efficient Communication in Urban Anthropogenic Noise?
Animals 2019, 9(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030118 - 26 Mar 2019
Abstract
Urban environments are characteristically noisy and this can pose a challenge for animals that communicate acoustically. Although evidence suggests that some birds can make acoustic adjustments that preclude masking of their signals in high-disturbance environments such as cities, studies to date have tended [...] Read more.
Urban environments are characteristically noisy and this can pose a challenge for animals that communicate acoustically. Although evidence suggests that some birds can make acoustic adjustments that preclude masking of their signals in high-disturbance environments such as cities, studies to date have tended to focus on acoustic signals important in mate attraction (e.g., songs). Far less attention has been given to the impact of urban noise on other kinds of calls. To redress this, we compared a range of different vocalizations (encompassing alarm calls, begging calls and parent response calls) among urban and rural individuals of a successful Australian ‘urban adapter’, the Noisy miner, Manorina melanocephala. We found that urban miners had significantly higher minimum sound frequencies for calls with low base-frequencies (<2 kHz); however, calls with base-frequencies ‘naturally’ above the main frequency range of urban noise (>2 kHz) had the same minimum frequency in urban and rural birds. Dominant frequency and call duration did not differ between urban and rural individuals. Although urban Noisy miners exhibited differences from rural individuals in the minimum frequency of calls, this shift was not large enough to avoid masking from low-frequency, anthropogenic noise. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that the calls of Noisy miners may be naturally well suited to being heard in noisy urban environments by having (a) dominant frequencies higher than low-level, anthropogenic noise and (b) several important call-types with frequencies above the main frequency range associated with urban noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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