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High temperatures and human pressures interact to influence mortality in an African carnivore

Rabaiotti, D., Groom, R., McNutt, J. W., Watermeyer, J., O'Neill, Helen M. K., Woodroffe, Rosie (2021) High temperatures and human pressures interact to influence mortality in an African carnivore. Ecology and Evolution, . Article Number ece3.7601. ISSN 2045-7758. (doi:10.1002/ece3.7601) (KAR id:88612)


The impacts of high ambient temperatures on mortality in humans and domestic animals are well-understood. However much less is known about how hot weather affects mortality in wild animals. High ambient temperatures have been associated with African wild dog Lycaon pictus pup mortality, suggesting that high temperatures might also be linked to high adult mortality.We analyzed mortality patterns in African wild dogs radio-collared in Kenya (0°N), Botswana (20°S), and Zimbabwe (20°S), to examine whether ambient temperature was associated with adult mortality.We found that high ambient temperatures were associated with increased adult wild dog mortality at the Kenya site, and there was some evidence for temperature associations with mortality at the Botswana and Zimbabwe sites.At the Kenya study site, which had the highest human impact, high ambient temperatures were associated with increased risks of wild dogs being killed by people, and by domestic dog diseases. In contrast, temperature was not associated with the risk of snare-related mortality at the Zimbabwe site, which had the second highest human impact. Causes of death varied markedly between sites. Pack size was positively associated with survival at all three sites.These findings suggest that while climate change may not lead to new causes of mortality, rising temperatures may exacerbate existing anthropogenic threats to this endangered species, with implications for conservation. This evidence suggests that temperature-related mortality, including interactions between temperature and other anthropogenic threats, should be investigated in a greater number of species to understand and mitigate likely impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ece3.7601
Uncontrolled keywords: climate change, human–wildlife conflict
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Helen O'Neill
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 09:15 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 23:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

O'Neill, Helen M. K..

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