Facilitation or competition? Effects of lions on brown hyaenas and leopards
MetadataShow full item record
Intra-guild interactions related to facilitation and competition can be strong forces structuring ecological communities and have been suggested as particularly prominent for large carnivores. The African lion (Panthera leo) is generally thought to be a dominant predator where it occurs and can be expected to have broad effects on sympatric carnivore communities. We used data from two small game reserves in northern South Africa to relate the presence of African lions to abundance, habitat use, diet, and prey selection of two sympatric large carnivores, brown hyaenas (Parahyaena brunnea) and leopards (Panthera pardus). Our results offered some support for the facilitative effects of lions on brown hyaenas, and competitive effects on leopards. However, differences between populations living without and with lions were restricted to broad diet composition and appear not to have permeated into differences in either prey selection, abundance or habitat use. Therefore, we suggest that the potential effects of lions on the predator–prey interactions of sympatric predators may have been context dependent or absent, and subsequently argue that lions may not necessarily influence the predator–prey dynamics in the landscapes they live in beyond those caused by their own predatory behaviour.
- RESEARCH: Somers M