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Predator Ecology and Management. What is a predator?. What is the effect of predators on prey populations?. Some aspects of predator ecology and behavior: Territoriality. Functional and numerical responses. Selectivity.

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Predator Ecology and Management

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Some aspects of predator ecology and behavior:

  • Territoriality.
  • Functional and numerical responses.
  • Selectivity.

Territoriality: defense of an area by one or more individuals against others of the same, related, or ecologically similar species.


Functional Response: relates to the amount of effort exerted on a particular prey type. Often measured as the number of prey eaten as a function of prey density.


The numerical response is similar, but relates to the actual density of the predators in response to the density of the prey.


Predator Selectivity: the degree of “choice” in the prey taken by a predator. Often, in conservation biology, we’re interested in the predator’s tendency to take old, weak or diseased prey.


Coyotes and Mule Deer

Are declines of deer the result of predation, or other factors?





A bear attack research updateHerrero and Higgins analyzed incidences of human injuries inflicted by bears in Alberta and British Columbia (B.C.) between 1960–1998 and 1960-1997 respectively. The following are selected findings from their studies:

According to Dr. Steve Herrero bear attacks are rare but obviously traumatic events. In all of North America there are an estimated 800,000 black bears and 60,000 grizzly bears. Each year people have millions of interactions with bears. A very small fraction of these results in human injury. During the decade of the 1990s bears fatally injured on average 3 people each year and seriously injured about 12.

The percentage of serious/fatal injuries in Alberta that occurred inside National Parks (as opposed to on Alberta lands outside of National Parks) was disproportionate (high) to the relatively small numbers of bears in the parks.

the probable explanation for the above findings is the very large number of visitors in bear habitat in Alberta National Parks, and the associated challenge of human food and garbage management.

Injury rates for backcountry visitors to the National Parks were significantly higher than for front-country visitors.

Black bears far outnumber grizzly bears in both provinces. Grizzlies, however, were responsible for a significantly greater percentage of serious/fatal injuries than were black bears.

Data demonstrate behavioural differences between the two species. For example, competition with hunters, often over carcasses, and adult females acting in defense of their cubs were commonly associated with grizzly attacks in B.C.


As long as people want to go in the water, some attacks will be rare, but inevitable.

There are conditions that should be avoided:

1. Night swimming

2. Handling dead or dying fish in the water.

3. Swimming in murky conditions.

4. Swimming in areas known to harbor large populations of sharks.

International Shark Attack File

2008 death in Bahamas


From 1975 to 1993, about 45 people a year were killed by tigers in India’s Sunderbans region.

That number has declined greatly in recent years due to increased supervision of villager activities.