Recreational activities affect resting site selection and foraging time of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
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Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 1176, CZ-16521 Prague, Czech Republic
Department of Research and Nature Protection, Šumava National Park Administration, Sušická 399, CZ-34192 Kašperské Hory, Czech Republic
Department for Conservation and Research, Bavarian Forest National Park, Freyunger Str.2, D-94481 Grafenau, Germany
Department of Wildlife Sciences, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 3, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, CZ-12844 Prague 2, Czech Republic
Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacher Straße 4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
Online publication date: 2018-11-20
Publication date: 2018-12-10
Corresponding author
Elisa Belotti   

Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Kamýcká 1176, 16521 Prague, Czech Republic
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2018;29(2):181-189
Over the past decades, non-consumptive outdoor recreation has intensified, resulting in a more widespread and regular human presence in natural habitats, including protected areas. This has shown to negatively affect several animal species, and in some cases, cause their decline. Therefore, understanding the impacts of recreation on protected species is fundamental. In the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem, we GPS-monitored the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), generally considered tolerant to human presence. We tested whether the local level of recreation influenced (a) time spent by lynx at killed prey, both in terms of number of hours each night and of number of nights at each killed prey (i.e. feeding behavior) and (b) selection of daytime resting sites. Furthermore, we checked whether each behavior was influenced by local habitat features ensuring low accessibility to people and high protective cover, and by the level of nature protection assigned to different parts of the study area, all of which likely influence perceived risk by lynx. Finally, we tested for seasonal (winter vs. summer) changes in these variables’ effects. Throughout the year, the local intensity and recurrence of recreation was negatively correlated with the probability that lynx would use a given location for daytime resting and with the number of hours that lynx spent at a given killed prey each night. Furthermore, habitat features providing protective cover positively correlated with both behaviors, and the probability that lynx would use a given location for daytime resting was higher inside than outside protected areas. Finally, recreation negatively correlated with the number of nights lynx spent at killed prey only in winter (i.e. October-April). These findings can be applied when planning recreational activities, and generally highlight the need for a deeper understanding of the impacts of human activities across a range of species.
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