Habitat use and movements of plains zebra in response to predation

  • Date: 01/22/2007

Ilya Fischhoff (Princeton University)


University of Alberta


Prey species must adapt their behavior to avoid predation while meeting
resource needs. In East Africa savannah, plains zebra are a key prey
for lions. We study a population of 600 plains zebra in Ol Pejeta
Conservancy, Kenya. We test how zebra movements change in response to
variation in lion threat, using GPS radiocollar data from zebras and
direct observations of zebras and lions. We find that zebras move away
from a grassland patch when lions are present on that patch. Changes in
zebra habitat use between day and night are consistent with avoiding
lions. Further, zebras move faster and take sharper turns at night in
grassland. We argue that these habitat shifts and movements may assist
zebras in avoiding detection or capture by lions.

Other Information: 

PIMS-MITACS Mathematical Biology Seminar Series 2007