Hares, Humans, and Lynx activity rhythms: Who avoids whom?
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1. Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arak University, Iran 2. Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
Department of Veterinary Biology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland
Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Uintah Basin, Utah, USA
School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA
KuzeyDoğa Society, Kars, Turkey
Katarzyna Bojarska   

Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland
Online publication date: 2021-11-17
Publication date: 2021-11-17
Predator-prey interactions and human presence are among the key factors shaping large mammal activity patterns. In human-dominated landscapes, large carnivores must balance their activity rhythms between optimizing their feeding opportunities and avoiding encounters with humans. In north-eastern Turkey, the Caucasian lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki), a threatened subspecies of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), occupies habitats heavily fragmented and dominated by human presence in the warm part of the year. Using camera traps and GPS-collar activity sensors, we investigated lynx circadian activity patterns across lunar phases and seasons. We compared them with the activity of its primary prey, the European hare (Lepus europaeus), and humans. We found that during the warm season (May-October), lynx displayed a bimodal crepuscular activity pattern typical for this species and consistent with hare activity. During the cold season (November-April), both lynx and hares shifted to predominantly diurnal activity. During the full moon, hares reduced their activity due to the anti-predator behaviour, followed by a corresponding adjustment in lynx activity patterns. We conclude that lynx activity in our study area is an outcome of weather conditions, human presence and foraging behaviour. Our results also corroborate camera trapping data's suitability in documenting multiple species' temporal activity patterns.