Saturday , June 19 2021

Animal populations are reduced by strategies for finding high-risk foods

Magellan penguins, who live in Argentina, can easily find fish, indicating that the chances of finding food are good for them. Credit: Emily Shepard

A study that used animal technology to measure food intake in the four different wild animals found that animals using a high-risk strategy to find rare foods were particularly vulnerable to extinction because they could not collect food for their young men before starving.

In a first study of its kind, a team led by Swansea University used corporate-size electronic tags to record the movement of a number of personal condoms, cheetahs, penguins and sheep in Argentina, South Africa and Northern Ireland.

Known as the "Daily Diary", the tags record a mass of data, everything from the minute movements of the animal through space and time, to its ambient temperature and light levels.

The results of the tags were used for measurement:

  • The probability that each animal finds food items.
  • The size of the food items.
  • The effort was used to find the food.
  • The effort used for all other activities such as rest, play etc.

"We know that animal populations around the world are taking a hit, when the most charismatic animals like lions and predators are among the worst, but so far not," said Rory Wilson of Swansea University, a leading expert in animal movement and research leader. It is clear why.

"Our research has found that animals who use a high-risk gambling strategy to find food, such as lions and tigers, who need to look for long periods of time before they get lucky and find predators, are more likely to accumulate the energy they need to reproduce than those who adopt a low risk gambling strategy , Like herbivores like zebras. "

Magellan penguins, who live in Argentina, can easily find fish, indicating that the chances of finding food are good for them. Credit: Rory Wilson, University of Swansea

The average time of young people of any species can survive without food depends on their size (larger youngsters can survive for longer), but recently broke or newly born young of none of the studied species can live without food for more than a few days.

The catastrophic results of these animals through a high-risk strategy for food detection are highlighted in the study by comparing two species of penguin. While Magellan penguins living in Argentina can easily find fish, indicating that their chances are good, African penguins, whose populations have been declining in South Africa for decades, have very low chances of their food.

"It seems that commercial fishing has changed the rules of the game for African penguins, when animals take rare prey anyway, even small changes in the ecosystem resulting from human activity can be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of growing success, and it looks like the case of an African penguin , Whose population is now only 1% of what it was 100 years ago, "said Professor Wilson.

African penguins, whose population has been in South Africa for decades, have very low prospects for their food donors. Their population is now only 1 percent of what it was 100 years ago. Credit: David Gramila

Researchers now hope that their model can be used to predict the luck of species around the world, which can prove to be instrumental in formulating conservation plans.

The article, entitled "Luck in food finding" affects personal performance and population trajectories, is published on Current Biology.

Explore further:
After a bad winter in the ocean, women Magellan penguins suffer the most, the study shows

more information:
Luck in food finding affects individual performance and population trajectories, Current Biology (2018). … 0960-9822 (18) 31363-0

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Current Biology

Provided by:
University of Swansea

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