A cat in paradise: hunting and feeding behaviour of Eurasian lynx among abundant naive prey

  • September 28, 2020
  • by Martin Duľa & Miha Krofel

Kill rates of predators typically increase when they come into contact with naïve and abundant prey. Such a situation can lead to surplus killing or the occurrence of parallel kills (i.e. additional kills that predator makes while still consuming the carcass from the previous kill). However, there is limited information on the feeding behaviour of predators during such events and how they affect kill rates. Here we report on hunting and feeding behaviour of a male Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) that dispersed into a region where this apex predator had been absent for several decades. We also report on the kleptoparasitism by wild boar (Sus scrofa), which effects on lynx prey consumption have not yet been explored. We found 66 ungulates killed by the lynx, among which 39% were part of parallel kills. Compared to the single kills, lynx fed on parallel kills for 2.7-times longer, while the kill rate was 37% higher, resulting in one of the highest kill rates reported so far for male lynx in Europe. We did not detect differences in search times following single or parallel kills and the average distance between consecutive kills was similar in both kill types. We also recorded the highest kleptoparasitism rate by dominant scavengers on Eurasian lynx, as 48% of kills were usurped and consumed by the wild boars. Kleptoparasitism reduced the average time lynx was able to feed on prey for 52% compared to kills not found by wild boars. However, the lynx did not compensate for these losses by increasing the hunting effort, probably due to abundant naive prey available in the area.

PUBLICATION AVAILABLE AT: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42991-020-00070-6