Graduate Project


Exploring the Relationship Between Human Disturbance and Wildlife Behavior in Protected Areas Public Deposited

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  • Wildlife behavior is a common research topic in conservation studies; however, the relationship between wildlife behavior and human disturbance, specifically in protected areas, is seldom studied. Previous studies have identified relationships between various different types of behaviors of both humans and wildlife, indicating correlations between avoidance behaviors, habituation, and physiological changes in response to human disturbance events. This project has two aims. The first is to identify possible correlation between wildlife vigilance, tolerance, and human disturbance in protected wildlife areas. The second aim is to serve as an introductory study to a larger-scale camera trap study. To understand this relationship, I placed three camera traps at protected areas and unprotected areas of various human disturbance levels in my study site in Fair Oaks, California. My results show a possible correlation between time allocation for vigilance and human disturbance, as well as a possible correlation between predator and prey animals and vigilance time allocation. From a management perspective, this introductory study has highlighted areas of wildlife protection that should be prioritized to avoid changes to fitness and population viability; the study also points to the need for more extensive, larger-scale investigation.
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