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Evidence-based culling of a facultative predator: Efficacy and efficiency components

AuthorsSanz-Aguilar, Ana ; Martínez-Abraín, Alejandro; Tavecchia, Giacomo ; Mínguez, Eduardo; Oro, Daniel
KeywordsBreeding success
Yellow-legged gull
Evidence-based management
Issue Date2009
CitationBiological Conservation 142(2): 424-431 (2009)
AbstractHuman activities have greatly modified predator-prey dynamics within seabird communities by favouring a rapid increase in density of large predatory gulls. To counteract such a subsidized growth, conservation agencies perform massive random culling programs, which generally fail to restore the original predator-prey relationship. We used long-term individual-based information to evaluate the effects of a selective culling of a top seabird predator, the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis), on the predatory pressure, survival and reproductive success probabilities of a secondary prey, the vulnerable European storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus). The selective removal of only 16 gulls in 3 years led to a reduction of ca. 65% in the number of petrels killed, and to a relative increase in their survival and breeding success probabilities of 16% and 23%, respectively. Our results show that only a few specialised predators were responsible for the bulk of the impact on a secondary prey and that the removal of those specialised individuals was an effective and efficient way to improve prey demographic parameters. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.11.004
issn: 0006-3207
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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