SPEZIALE Karina Lilian
DISTURBANCE FROM ROADS NEGATIVELY AFFECTS ANDEAN CONDOR HABITAT USE
SPEZIALE K.L., LAMBERTUCCI S.A, OLSSON O.
Año: 2008 vol. 141 p. 1765 - 1765
Human disturbance can be a severe problem for some animal species. Behaviouralecology theory predicts that sensitivity to mortality risks, and thereby to disturbance, will be related to life-history characteristics. Long-lived species with low reproductive rates are expected to have a high cost of predation and therefore avoid risks strongly. In this paper we quantify the effect of roads on the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) using behavioural indicators. We used a pair wise design, offering condors standardized food patches near and far from roads simultaneously. The patches consisted of dead adult sheep.We recorded condors behaviour when visiting each patch. This study establishes the versatility ofbehavioural indicators and their usefulness to study conservation problems. We found that, although near and far patches were discovered after similar times and there were similar numbers of condors in the vicinity of near and far patches, the use of patches differed strongly. In the patches far from roads many more condors came to feed, the average time spent per individual was longer, the proportion of time spent vigilant was lower, and the amount of food left uneaten on the carcasses was lower. These results strongly suggest that Andean condors clearly avoid roads, and behave in a way predicted from theory if they trade off safety for energy. This study shows that roads have stronger influence on the habitat use of Andean condors, than previously thought, and may be a significant problem for the species in populated areas.