Attraction and Avoidance between Predators and Prey at Wildlife Crossings on Roads
Wildlife passages are currently built at roads and railway lines to re-establish connectivity. However, little is known about whether predator-prey interactions may reduce the effectiveness of the crossing structures. We evaluated the co-occurrence patterns of predator-prey species-pairs at 113 crossing structures, noting their coincidence at the same structure and/or on the same day. We built occupancy models using presence-absence matrices for three prey and five predator types obtained
... ypes obtained during 2076 passage-days of monitoring. The results indicate that predators and prey do not use passages independently. Attraction or segregation effects occurred in 20% of predator-prey species-pairs and were detected in 67% of cases with respect to same-day use. Our results show that both predator and prey species used the same structures to cross fenced roads. However, the spatial and daily patterns of crossing suggest that there were predators that attended crossings to search for prey and that prey species avoided using crossings in the presence of predators. Our results support two recommendations to avoid crossing structures losing effectiveness or becoming prey traps: (i) increase the number of wider structures to reduce the risks of predator-prey encounters and (ii) include inside them structural heterogeneity and refuges, to reduce the likelihood for predator-prey interactions.