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14 May 2020 Does Competition Shape Cheetah Prey Use Following African Wild Dog Reintroductions?
Kristina L. Cornhill, Graham I.H. Kerley
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Both interference and exploitative competition for prey occurs between carnivore species, which can be exacerbated if the carnivore species are of similar body size, meaning that they select for similar prey species. Studies on competition within the large carnivore guild in Africa have mainly focused on the interactions between the larger dominant (lions, Panthera leo, and spotted hyaenas, Crocuta crocuta) and smaller, submissive (cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus, and African wild dogs, Lycoan pictus) species. However, given that cheetahs and African wild dogs are similar-sized and diurnal, they have a high overlap in dietary preference and hence scope for competition. Here, we investigate whether competition with African wild dogs shapes cheetah prey preference by comparing cheetah prey selection before and after reintroductions of African wild dogs. We show that cheetahs experienced high dietary overlap with African wild dogs but become more generalized hunters in the presence of African wild dogs. Moreover, cheetahs used three key prey species (impala, Aepyceros melampus, nyala, Tragelaphus angasii, and common duiker, Sylvicapra grimmia) differently following African wild dog reintroductions. We suggest that this reflects predominantly exploitative competition between these predators, particularly for impala. Such diet shifts may be useful indicators of resource limitations for managers conserving these two threatened small predators.

Kristina L. Cornhill and Graham I.H. Kerley "Does Competition Shape Cheetah Prey Use Following African Wild Dog Reintroductions?," African Journal of Wildlife Research 50(1), (14 May 2020).
Received: 21 December 2019; Accepted: 14 April 2020; Published: 14 May 2020

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