Conservation and Behaviour

Abstract

Conservation behaviour is an area of conservation biology particularly suited to investigate problems of species endangerment associated with managing animals in fragmented habitats and isolated parks. It employs a theoretical framework that examines the mechanisms, development, function and phylogeny of behavioural variation in order to develop practical tools for preventing extinction. This framework can be used to attract animals to suitable habitat, restore migratory movements, identify individual reproductive strategies affecting conservation and focus protection on species most susceptible to extinction. The future success of conservation behaviour requires that behaviourists link individual variation in behaviour to processes that determine population viability.

Key concepts

  • Animal conservation will require active management.

  • Behavioural problems must be examined from four perspectives (mechanisms, ontogeny, adaptive function, phylogeny) simultaneously.

  • Behavioural strategies of individual animals change as habitat and populations are altered, and those changes could harm population viability.

  • Animal behaviourists must participate in conservation planning to protect the future of biodiversity.

Keywords: conservation; extinction; wildlife management; ethology

Figure 1.

More migratory populations and species of hoofed mammals are endangered by anthropogenic obstacles to animal migration such as fences, roads and reservoirs, than by overhunting or agricultural development of natural areas. Data from Bolger et al. ().

Figure 2.

Sustainable ecotourism provides financial incentives to protect natural areas. Conservation behaviour studies are needed to determine if island species, such as this Galapagos penguin, habituate more easily to human disturbance because they have evolved without terrestrial predators. Photo courtesy of Clifford Ochs.

close

References

Ahlering MA and Faaborg J (2006) Avian habitat management meets conspecific attraction: if you build it, will they come? Auk 23: 301–312.

Alberts AC, Lemm JM, Perry AM, Morici LA and Phillips JA (2002) Temporary alteration of local social structure in a threatened population of Cuban iguanas (Cyclura nubila). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 51: 324–335.

Alverson DL, Freeberg MH, Murawski SA and Pope JG (1994) A global assessment of fisheries bycatch and discards. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 339, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/T4890E/T4890E00.HTM

Angeloni L, Schlaepfer MA, Lawler JJ and Crooks KR (2008) A reassessment of the interface between conservation and behaviour. Animal Behaviour 75: 731–737.

Arcese P, Keller LF and Cary JR (1997) Why hire a behaviorist into a conservation or management team? In: Clemmons JR and Buchholz R (eds) Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, pp. 48–71. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Battini J (2004) When good animals love bad habitats: ecological traps and the conservation of animal populations. Conservation Biology 18: 1482–1491.

Beissinger SR (1997) Integrating behavior into conservation biology: potentials and limitations. In: Clemmons JR and Buchholz R (eds) Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, pp. 23–47. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Berger J and Cunningham C (1994) Active intervention and conservation: Africa's pachyderm problem. Science 263: 1241–1242.

Bird B, Branch L and Miller D (2004) Effects of coastal lighting on foraging behavior of beach mice. Conservation Biology 18: 1435–1439.

Bolger DT, Newmark WD, Morrison TA and Doak DF (2008) The need for integrative approaches to understand and conserve migratory ungulates. Ecology Letters 11: 63–77.

Buchholz R (2007) Behavioural biology: an effective and relevant conservation tool. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 401–407.

Canadian Wildlife Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2005) International Recovery Plan for the Whooping Crane, 162pp. Ottawa: Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW), and Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Caro T (2007) Behavior and conservation: a bridge too far? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 394–400.

Castellón TD and Sieving KE (2005) An experimental test of matrix permeability and corridor use by an endemic understory bird. Conservation Biology 20: 135–145.

Chiyo P and Cochrane E (2005) Population structure and behavior of crop‐raiding elephants in Kibale National Park, Uganda. African Journal of Ecology 43: 233–241.

Clevenger AP and Waltho N (2005) Performance indices to identify attributes of highway crossing structures facilitating movement of large mammals. Biological Conservation 121: 453–464.

Clout MN, Elliott GP and Robertson BC (2002) Effects of supplementary feeding on the offspring sex ratio of kakapo: a dilemma for the conservation of a polygynous parrot. Biological Conservation 107: 13–18.

Coltman DW, O'Donoghue P, Jorgenson JT et al. (2003) Undesirable evolutionary consequences of trophy hunting. Nature 426: 655–658.

Courchamp F, Rasmussen GSA and Macdonald DW (2002) Small pack size imposes a trade‐off between hunting and pup‐guarding in the painted hunting dog Lycaon pictus. Behavioral Ecology 13: 20–27.

Cryan PM and Brown AC (2007) Migration of bats past a remote island offers clues toward the problem of bat fatalities at wind turbines. Biological Conservation 139: 1–11.

Davis LA, Roalson EH, Cornell KL, McClanahan KD and Webster MS (2006) Genetic divergence and migration patterns in a North American passerine bird: implications for evolution and conservation. Molecular Ecology 15: 2141–2152.

Diego‐Rasilla FJ and Luengo RM (2004) Heterospecific call recognition and phonotaxis in the orientation behavior of the marbled newt, Triturus marmoratus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 55: 556–560.

Doherty PF Jr, Sorci G, Royle JA et al. (2003) Sexual selection affects local extinction and turnover in bird communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 100: 5858–5862.

Fisher HS, Swaisgood RR and Fitch‐Snyder H (2003) Odor familiarity and female preferences for males in a threatened primate, the pygmy loris Nycticebus pygmaeus: applications for genetic management of small populations. Naturwissenschaften 90: 509–512.

Fletcher RJ Jr (2007) Species interactions and population density mediate the use of social cues for habitat selection. Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 598–606.

Gagnon JW, Theimer TC, Dodd NL, Boe S and Schweinsburg RE (2007) Traffic volume alters elk distribution and highway crossings in Arizona. Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 2318–2323.

Gilroy JJ and Sutherland WJ (2007) Beyond ecological traps: perceptual errors and undervalued resources. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 351–356.

Haddad NM (1999) Corridor use predicted from behaviors at habitat boundaries. American Naturalist 153: 215–227.

Hutton JM and Leader‐Williams N (2003) Sustainable use and incentive‐driven conservation: realigning human and conservation interests. Oryx 37: 215–226.

Johns BG (1996) Responses of chimpanzees to habituation and tourism in the Kibale Forest, Uganda. Biological Conservation 78: 257–262.

Kastelein RA, Jennings N, Verboom WC, de Haan D and Schooneman NM (2006) Differences in the response of a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) to an acoustic alarm. Marine Environmental Research 61: 363–378.

Komdeur J, Castle G, Huffstad A et al. (1995) Transfer experiments of Seychelles warblers to new islands: changes in dispersal and helping behaviour. Animal Behaviour 49: 695–708.

Laurenson MK, Wielebnowski N and Caro TM (1995) Extrinsic factors and juvenile mortality in cheetahs. Conservation Biology 9: 1329–1331.

Lürling M and Scheffer M (2007) Info‐disruption: pollution and the transfer of chemical information between organisms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22(7): 374–379.

Marchesan M, Spoto M, Verginella L and Ferrero EA (2005) Behavioural effects of artificial light on fish species of commercial interest. Fisheries Research 73: 171–185.

Mata C, Hervás I, Herranz J, Suárez F and Malo JE (2005) Complementary use by vertebrates of crossing structures along a fenced Spanish motorway. Biological Conservation 124: 397–405.

McDonald RA, Delahay RJ, Carter SP, Smith GC and Cheeseman CL (2008) Perturbing implications of wildlife ecology for disease control. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23: 53–56.

Milner‐Gulland EJ (2003) Reproductive collapse in saiga antelope harems. Nature 422: 135.

Nevin OT and Gilbert BK (2005) Perceived risk, displacement and refuging in brown bears: positive impacts of ecotourism? Biological Conservation 121: 611–622.

Ng SJ, Dole JW, Sauvajot RM, Riley SPD and Valone TJ (2004) Use of highway undercrossings by wildlife in southern California. Biological Conservation 115: 499–507.

Parker PG and Waite TA (1997) Mating systems, effective population size, and conservation of natural populations. In: Clemmons JR and Buchholz R (eds) Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, pp. 243–261. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pierre JP and Norden WS (2006) Reducing seabird bycatch in longline fisheries using a natural olfactory deterrent. Biological Conservation 130: 406–415.

Quader S (2005) Mate choice and its implications for conservation and management. Current Science 89: 1220–1229.

Rittenhouse TAG and Semlitsch RD (2006) Grasslands as movement barriers for a forest‐associated salamander: migration behavior of adult and juvenile salamanders at a distinct habitat edge. Biological Conservation 131: 14–22.

Rode K, Chiyo P, Chapman C and McDowell L (2006) Nutritional ecology of elephants in Kibale National Park, Uganda, and its relationship with crop‐raiding behavior. Journal of Tropical Ecology 22: 441–449.

Rosenberg DK, Noon BR, Megahan JW and Meslow EC (1998) Compensatory behavior of Ensatina eschscholtzii in biological corridors: a field experiment. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76: 117–133.

Schlaepfer MA, Runge MC and Sherman PW (2002) Ecological and evolutionary traps. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 474–480.

Starfield AM, Roth JD and Ralls K (1995) Mobbing in Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinlandi): the value of simulation modeling in the absence of apparently crucial data. Conservation Biology 9: 166–174.

Thomas GH, Lanctot RB and Székely T (2006) Can intrinsic factors explain population decline in North American breeding shorebirds? A comparative analysis. Animal Conservation 9: 252–258.

Walker BG, Boersma PD and Wingfield JC (2006) Habituation of adult magellanic penguins to human visitation as expressed through behavior and corticosterone secretion. Conservation Biology 20: 146–154.

Ward MP and Schlossberg S (2004) Conspecific attraction and the conservation of territorial songbirds. Conservation Biology 18: 519–525.

Whiting SD, Murray W, Macrae I et al. (2008) Non‐migratory breeding by isolated green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Indian Ocean: biological and conservation implications. Naturwissenschaften 95: 355–360.

Whitman K, Starfield AM, Quadling HS and Packer C (2004) Sustainable trophy hunting of African lions. Nature 428: 175–178.

Witherington BE (1997) The problem of photopollution for sea turtles and other nocturnal animals. In: Clemmons JR and Buchholz R (eds) Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, pp. 303–328. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Zedrosser A, Støen O, Saebø S and Swenson JE (2007) Should I stay or should I go? Natal dispersal in the brown bear. Animal Behaviour 74: 369–376.

Further Reading

Caro T (1998) Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology. New York: Oxford University Press, New York.

Festa‐Bianchet M and Apollonio M (2003) Animal Behavior and Wildlife Conservation. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Gosling LM and Sutherland WJ (2000) Behaviour and Conservation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Harcourt AH and Stewart KJ (2007) Socio‐ecology and gorilla conservation. Chap. 14. In: Gorilla Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sutherland WJ (1996) From Individual Behaviour to Population Ecology. Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Buchholz, Richard, Yamnik, Patrick, Pulaski, Cassan N, and Campbell, Chelsea A(Dec 2008) Conservation and Behaviour. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021217]