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    Using environmental niche modelling to investigate the importance of ambient temperature in human-crocodilian attack occurrence for two species of crocodilian

    Powell, G. and Versluys, T.M.M. and Williams, J. and Tiedt, S. and Pooley, Simon (2019) Using environmental niche modelling to investigate the importance of ambient temperature in human-crocodilian attack occurrence for two species of crocodilian. Oryx , ISSN 0030-6053. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Crocodilians are responsible for more attacks on people than any other large predator, which has important implications for human safety and crocodilian conservation. Understanding the drivers of crocodilian attacks on people could help minimise future attacks and inform conflict management. Crocodilian attacks follow a seasonal pattern for many species; however, there has been limited analyses of the relationship between fine-scale contemporaneous environmental conditions and atack occurrence. Here, we use methods from environmental niche modelling to explore the relationships between abiotic predictors and human attack occurrence at a daily temporal resolution for two species: the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in South Africa and Swaziland (renamed Eswatini), and the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in Florida. Our results indicate that ambient daily temperature in the most important abiotic temporal predictor of attack occurrence for both species, with attack likelihood increasing sharply at temperatures above 18°C and peaking at 28°C. It is likely that this relationship is explained partially by human propensity to spend time in and around water in warmer weather, but also by the effect of temperature on crocodilian hunting behaviour and physiology, especially the ability to digest food. We discuss the potential of our findings to contribute to the management of crocodilians, with benefits for human safety and conservation, as well as the application of environmental niche modelling to analysing human conflict with other species, including ectotherms and endotherms.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Simon Pooley
    Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 11:08
    Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 18:02
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/27727

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