As human populations expand and nonhuman animals decline, understanding the interactions between people and wildlife is essential. For endangered species, appreciating the effect of human disturbance can be important for their conservation. However, a human disturbance angle is often absent from ecological research, despite growing evidence of the negative impact of non-fatal human interference. Here, we monitored Hainan Eld's deer living within a reserve and translocated animals living amongst villagers. We show that translocated deer deviated from a crepuscular activity pattern and became increasingly nocturnal, and most active when villagers were not. It appears that translocated deer adapted over time to human disturbance and this pattern is similar to that of other species during periods of hunting. People do not pose an actual threat to Eld's deer, but their presence triggered a response akin to predator avoidance and may be interfering with broader aspects of their biology and conservation.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1