Posts Tagged: bear
Wildlife isn't always restricted to wild spaces.
Avocado orchards and other agricultural landscapes also buzz with species that forage and reproduce in these spaces. Birds and herbivores are able to find food and shelter in these cultivated areas, but what about carnivores? In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that mammalian carnivores also occupy avocado orchards in southern California.
The authors used motion-activated cameras to observe animals in orchards and in adjacent wild lands in Santa Barbara and Ventura. Avocado orchards were of particular interest due to their location near native vegetation.
Through their investigation, the researchers detected more carnivores in the avocado orchards than in neighboring wild land sites. At least 7 out of the 11 native carnivores in the area were spotted roaming the orchards, including bear, coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats.
Having delicious avocados handy may explain why some omnivores such as bears and raccoons are present in the area, however, little is known about why animals like bobcats and mountain lions might leave their wild habitat for cultivated land. One possibility is that the orchards provide water and fruits for herbivores, and an increased herbivore population could translate to more prey for the carnivores. The orchards may also serve as shelter, offering forest cover similar to oak woodlands in the area.
These native species cannot always persist in protected reserves, so it is important to learn how cultivated lands can serve their lifestyle and behaviors. The carnivores may not be searching for the perfect guacamole ingredient; however there is no doubt that the avocado orchards are serving as a habitat for a wide range of species.
Citation: Nogeire TM, Davis FW, Duggan JM, Crooks KR, Boydston EE (2013) Carnivore Use of Avocado Orchards across an Agricultural-Wildland Gradient. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68025. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068025
There is a wild world in those avocado orchards. A study was done locally of some of the carnivores besides humans that show up there.
Carnivore Use of Avocado Orchards Across and Agricultural-Wildland Gradient
Wide-ranging species cannot persist in reserves alone. Consequently, there is growing interest in the conservation value of agricultural lands that separate or buffer natural areas. The value of agricultural lands for wildlife habitat and connectivity varies as a function of the crop type and landscape context, and quantifying these differences will improve our ability to manage these lands more effectively for animals. In southern California, many species are present in avocado orchards, including mammalian carnivores. We examined occupancy of avocado orchards by mammalian carnivores across agricultural-wildland gradients in southern California with motion-activated cameras. More carnivore species were detected with cameras in orchards than in wildland sites, and for bobcats and gray foxes, orchards were associated with higher occupancy rates. Our results demonstrate that agricultural lands have potential to contribute to conservation by providing habitat or facilitating landscape connectivity.