[MARMAM] New paper on provisioning of bottlenose dolphins and potential to learn harmful behaviours from associates (horizontal transmission)

Bec Donaldson R.Donaldson at murdoch.edu.au
Mon Jun 11 20:51:11 PDT 2012


Hullo all,

 

For those interested in human- marine mammal feeding interactions, or human-wildlife conflict, the following paper may be of use:

 

Donaldson, R., Finn, H., Bejder, L., Lusseau, D., Calver, M. (2012), The social side of human-wildlife interaction: wildlife can learn harmful behaviours from each other. Animal Conservation. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00548.x

 

Keywords:human-wildlife interaction; wildlife conservation management; feeding behaviour; maladaptive behaviour; social learning; bottlenose dolphin

 

Abstract

Although harmful human-wildlife interactions involving anthropogenic food sources are a significant issue for wildlife conservation, few studies have addressed whether social learning may influence how animals learn to use anthropogenic foods. We examined a long-term (1993-2003) human-wildlife interaction involving the illegal feeding of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) by recreational fishers in south-western Australia. We developed predictor variables for whether dolphins learned to accept food handouts from human provisioners, based on biological (age-class, sex) and behavioural (ranging and association patterns) data for a population of 74 dolphins. Two variables provided clear predictors for whether dolphins became conditioned to food handouts: the use of areas with high densities of recreational boats (BOAT) and the average coefficient of association with previously conditioned dolphins (ASSOC). An individual was more likely to become conditioned when it spent more time in high boat density areas and when it spent more time with other conditioned dolphins. When considering all the models available, there was strong weight of evidence for the effects of ASSOC and BOAT on the response variable. We were unable to detect any effects of age-class and sex with the available statistical power. These findings suggest that social learning can facilitate the acquisition of undesirable and maladaptive behaviours in wildlife, and indicate the value of long-term individual-specific data for the conservation management of wildlife engaging in undesirable interactions with humans.

 

Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit blog about the publication:

http://mucru.org/latest-news/new-publication-reports-that-dolphins-learn-maladaptive-behaviours-from-each-other/ <http://mucru.org/latest-news/new-publication-reports-that-dolphins-learn-maladaptive-behaviours-from-each-other/> 

 

Please contact Bec Donaldson (Murdoch University Conservation Medicine Program) or Hugh Finn (Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit) for copies of the paper. 

r.donaldson at murdoch.edu.au <mailto:r.donaldson at murdoch.edu.au>   

h.finn at murdoch.edu.au <mailto:h.finn at murdoch.edu.au> 

 

Related papers:

 

Donaldson, R., Finn, H., and Calver, M. (2010) Illegal feeding increases risk of boat-strike and entanglement in Bottlenose Dolphins in Perth, Western Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 16: 157-161.

 

Finn, H.C., Donaldson, R., and Calver, M.C. (2008) Feeding Flipper: a case study of a human-dolphin interaction. Pacific Conservation Biology 14: 215-225.

 

 

Kind regards
Bec

 

Bec Donaldson
Research Associate & Project Officer | Conservation Medicine Program 

School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
Murdoch University South Street Murdoch 6150 Western Australia

http://www.vetbiomed.murdoch.edu.au/Conservation_Med/index.html
Tel +61 (0) 448 580 525 | R.Donaldson at murdoch.edu.au
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