Consumption of game and pest species by small-and medium-sized carnivores

Koen Van Den Berge, Sanne Van Den Berge, Timo Van der Veken, Jan Gouwy, Pieter Verschelde, Maxime Eeraerts

Abstract


Ecosystem services are the contributions that natural ecosystems make to people. Mammalian carnivores can provide both positive and negative ecosystem services by consuming pest or game species, respectively. In this study, we determined the consumption of certain game and pest species for a guild of sympatric small- and medium-sized carnivores (European badger, red fox, European polecat, stone marten, stoat and least weasel). We found that game and pest species comprise a notable proportion of the diet, ranging from 0.0% to 12.6% and from 2.7% to 46.3%, respectively. Furthermore, for all carnivores we found that the proportion of pest species such as rats and voles (i.e., positive ecosystem service) was higher than the proportion of game species such as pheasants, partridges and hares, i.e., negative ecosystem service). Moreover, stoat and weasel did not consume any game species. This study gives a first overview of the potential ecosystem services through consumption of pest and game species provided by small- and medium-sized carnivores.

Keywords


dietary ecology; Mustelidae; red fox; ecosystem services; game consumption

Full Text:

PDF

References


Baghli A. & Verhagen R. (2003). The distribution and status of the polecat Mustela putorius in Luxembourg. Mammal Review 33: 57–68.

Barrull J., Mate I., Ruiz-Olmo J., Casanovas J.G., Gosàlbez J. & Salicrú M. (2014). Factors and mechanisms that explain coexistence in a Mediterranean carnivore assemblage: An integrated study based on camera trapping and diet. Mammalian Biology 79: 123–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.11.004

Bro E., Sarrazin J., Clobert J. & Reitz F. (2000). Demography and decline of the grey partridge Perdix perdix in France. Journal of Applied Ecology 37: 432–448.

Brown R., Ferguson J. & Lawrence M. (1998). Vogelsporen: determineergids voor sporen, veren, braakballen, schedels en andere tekens van Europese vogels. Tirion natuur, Den Haag.

Clout M.N. (2002). Biodiversity loss caused by invasive alien vertebrates. Zeitschrift für Jagdwissenschaften 48: 51–58.

Croose E., Duckworth J., Ruette S., Skumatov D., Kolesnikov V. & Saveljev A. (2018). A review of the status of the Western polecat Mustela putorius: a neglected and declining species? Mammalia 82: 550–564.

Díaz S., Pascual U., Stenseke M., Martín-López B., Watson R.T., Molnár Z., Hill R., Chan K.M.A., Baste I.A., Brauman K.A., Polasky S., Church A., Lonsdale M., Larigauderie A., Leadley P.W., Van Oudenhoven A.P.E., Van der Plaat F., Schröter M., Lavorel S., Aumeeruddy-Thomas Y., Bukvareva E., Davies K., Demissew S., Erpul G., Failler P., Guerra C.A., Hewitt C.L., Keune H., Lindley S. & Shirayama Y. (2018). Assessing nature’s contributions to people. Science 359 (6373): 270–272. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aap8826

Eeraerts M., Smagghe G. & Meeus I. (2019). Pollinator diversity, floral resources and semi-natural habitat, instead of honey bees and intensive agriculture, enhance pollination service to sweet cherry. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 284: 106586. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106586

Elmeros M. (2006). Food habits of stoats Mustela erminea and weasels Mustela nivalis in Denmark. Acta Theriologica 51 (2): 179–186. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03192669

Ewer R.F. (1973). The Carnivores. Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 494 p.

Goszczyński J. (1976). Composition of the food of martens. Acta Theriologica 21 (36): 527–534.

Haines-Young R.H. & Potschin M. (2013). CICES V4.3 – Revised report prepared following consultation on CICES Version 4, August-December 2012. EEA Framework.

Hanski I., Henttonen H., Korpimäki E., Oksanen L. & Turchin P. (2001). Small-rodent dynamics and predation. Ecology 82 (6): 1205–1520.

Hoeks S., Huijbregts M.A.J., Busana M., Harfoot M.B.J., Svenning J.C. & Santini L. (2020). Mechanistic insights into the role of large carnivores for ecosystem structure and functioning. Ecography 43 (12): 1752–1763. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05191

Hofmeester T.R., Jansen P.A., Wijnen H.J., Coipan E.C., Fonville M., Prins H.H.T., Sprong H. & van Wieren S.E. (2017). Cascading effects of predator activity on tick-borne disease risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20170453. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.0453

INBO (2021). Trends in afschotstatistieken en schattingen van de voorjaarspopulatie. Available from https://www.vlaanderen.be/inbo/trends-in-afschotstatistieken-en-schattingen-van-de-voorjaarspopulatie/ [accessed 25 January 2022].

Jacob J., Manson P., Barfknecht R. & Fredricks T. (2014). Common vole (Microtus arvalis) ecology and management: implications for risk assessment of plant protection products. Pest Management Science 70 (6): 869–878. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.3695

Keune H., Kretsch C., De Blust G., Gilbert M., Flandroy L., Van den Berge K., Versteirt V., Hartig T., De Keersmaecker L. & Eggermont H. (2013). Science-policy challenges for biodiversity, public health and urbanization: examples from Belgium. Environmental Research Letters 8: 025015. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/025015

Kuijper D.P.J., Oosterveld, E. & Wymenga E. (2009). Decline and potential recovery of the European grey partridge (Perdix perdix) population - a review. European Journal of Wildlife Research 55: 455–463. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-009-0311-2

Lanszki J. (2003). Feeding habits of stone martens in a Hungarian village and its surroundings. Folia Zoologica 52 (4): 367–377.

Lanszki J. & Heltai M. (2007). Diet of the European polecat and the steppe polecat in Hungary. Mammalian Biology 72 (1): 49–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2006.07.002

Lanszki J., Körmendi S., Hancz C. & Zalewski A. (1999). Feeding habits and trophic niche overlap in a Carnivora community of Hungary. Acta Theriologica 44 (4): 429–442. https://doi.org/10.4098/AT.arch.99-41

Lichtenberg E.M., Kennedy C.M., Kremen C., Batáry P., Berendse F., Bommarco R., Bosque-Pérez N.A., Carvalheiro L.G., Snyder W.E., Williams N.M., Winfree R., Klatt B.K., Åström S., Benjamin F., Brittain C., Chaplin-Kramer R., Clough Y., Danforth B., Diekötter T., Eigenbrode S.D., Ekroos J., Elle E., Freitas B.M., Fukuda Y., Gaines-Day H.R., Grab H., Gratton C., Holzschuh A., Isaacs R., Isaia M., Jha S., Jonason D., Jones V.P., Klein A.-M., Krauss J., Letourneau D.K., Macfadyen S., Mallinger R.E., Martin E.A., Martinez E., Memmott J., Morandin L., Neame L., Otieno M., Park M.G., Pfiffner L., Pocock M.J.O., Ponce C., Potts S.G., Poveda K., Ramos M., Rosenheim J.A., Rundlöf M., Sardiñas H., Saunders M.E., Schon N.L., Sciligo A.R., Sidhu C.S., Steffan-Dewenter I., Tscharntke T., Veselý M., Weisser W.W., Wilson J.K. & Crowder D. W. (2017). A global synthesis of the effects of diversified farming systems on arthropod diversity within fields and across agricultural landscapes. Global Change Biology 23 (11): 4946–4957. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13714

Lodé T. (1997). Trophic status and feeding habits of the European polecat Mustela putorius L. 1758. Mammal Review 27: 177–184. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2907.1997.tb00447.x

Lund M. (2015). Commensal rodents. In: Buckle A.P. & Smith R.H. (eds) Rodent Pests and their Control, 2nd edition: 19–32. CAB International, Wallingford. https://doi.org/10.1079/9781845938178.0000

McMahon B.J., Doyle S., Gray A., Kelly S.B.A. & Redpath S.M. (2020). European bird declines: do we need to rethink approaches to the management of abundant generalist predators? Journal of Applied Ecology 57 (10): 1885–1890. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13695

Ostfeld R.S. & Holt R.D. (2004). Are predators good for your health? Evaluating evidence for top-down regulation of zoonotic disease. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2 (1): 13–20.

Pisman A., Vanacker S., Willems P., Engelen G. & Poelmans L. (eds). (2018). Ruimterapport Vlaanderen (RURA). Een ruimtelijke analyse van Vlaanderen. Departement Omgeving, Brussel.

Posłuszny M., Pilot M., Goszczyński J. & Gralak B. (2007). Diet of sympatric pine marten (Martes martes) and stone marten (Martes foina) identified by genotyping of DNA from faeces. Annales Zoologici Fennici 44 (4): 269–284.

Prugh L.R., Stoner C.J., Epps C.W., Bean W.T., Ripple W.J., Laliberte A.S. & Brashares J.S. (2009). The rise of the mesopredator. BioScience 59 (9): 779–791. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2009.59.9.9

Reade W. & Hosking E. (1968). Broedende vogels, hun nesten, eieren en jongen. Moussault, Amsterdam.

R Development Core Team. (2020). R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.

Reynolds J.C. & Tapper S.C. (1996). Control of mammalian predators in game management and conservation. Mammal Review 26: 127–156.

Reynolds J.C, Stoate C., Brockless M.H., Aebischer N.J. & Tapper S.C. (2010). The consequences of predator control for brown hares (Lepus europaeus) on UK farmland. European Journal of Wildlife Research 56: 541–549. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-009-0355-3

Ritchie E.G., Elmhagen B., Glen A.S., Letnic M., Ludwig G. & McDonald R.A. (2012). Ecosystem restoration with teeth: what role for predators? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27 (5): 265–271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2012.01.001

Robertson P.A. & Rosenberg A.A. (1988). Harvesting gamebirds. In: Hudson P.J. & Rands M.R.W. (eds) Ecology and Management of Gamebirds: 177–201. Blackwell Scientific Publications, London.

Roemer G.W., Gompper M.E. & Van Valkenburgh B. (2009). The ecological role of the mammalian mesocarnivore. Bioscience 59: 165–173. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2009.59.2.9

Roos S., Smart J., Gibbons D.W. & Wilson J.D. (2018). A review of predation as a limiting factor for bird populations in mesopredator-rich landscapes: a case study of the UK. Biological Reviews 93 (4): 1915–1937. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12426

Rysava-Novakova M. & Koubek P. (2009). Feeding habits of two sympatric mustelid species, European polecat Mustela putorius and stone marten Mattes foina, in the Czech Republic. Folia Zoologica 58 (1): 66–75.

Sainsbury K.A., Shore R.F., Schofield H., Croose E., Hantke G., Kitchener A.C. & McDonald R.A. (2020). Diets of European polecat Mustela putorius in Great Britain during fifty years of population recovery. Mammal Research 65 (2): 181–190. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-020-00484-0

Scheppers T., Verzelen Y., Devos K., Huysentruyt F., Casaer J., Adriaens T., De Bruyn L., Van Den Berge K., Van Daele T. & Vermeersch G. (2019). De impact van jacht op patrijzenpopulat-ies: Wat kunnen populatiemodellen ons leren? Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek 2019 (29). Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussel. https://doi.org/10.21436/inbor.15402520

Schulp C.J.E., Thuiller W. & Verburg P.H. (2014). Wild food in Europe: a synthesis of knowledge and data of terrestrial wild food as an ecosystem service. Ecological Economics 105: 292–305. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.06.018

Sillero-Subiri C. & Laurenson K. (2001). Interactions between carnivores and local communities: conflic or co-existence? Carnivore Conservation (January 2001): 282–312.

Sliwinski K., Ronnenberg K., Jung K., Strauß E. & Siebert U. (2019). Habitat requirements of the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas 1778) in an intensively used agriculture region (Lower Saxony, Germany). BMC Ecology 19 (1): 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12898-019-0247-7

Statbel (2020). Bodemgebruik in België vanaf 1980. Available from https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/leefmilieu/grond/bodemgebruik#figures [accessed 16 November 2020].

Swan G.J.F., Redpath S.M., Crowley S.L. & McDonald R.A (2020). Understanding diverse approaches to predator management among gamekeepers in England People and Nature 2020 (2): 495–508. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10091

Tambling C.J., Avenant N.L., Drouilly M. & Melville H. (2018). The role of mesopredators in ecosystems: potential effects of managing their populations on ecosystem processes and biodiversity. In: Kerley G.I.H., Wilson S.L. & Balfour D. (eds) Livestock Predation and its Management in South Africa: a Scientific Assessment: 205–227. Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth.

Tapper S.C., Potts G.R. & Brockless M.H. (1996). The effect of an experimental reduction in predation pressure on the breeding success and population density of grey partridges Perdix perdix. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 965–978.

Teerink B.J. (1991). Atlas and Identification Key Hair of West-European Mammals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Van Den Berge K., Gouwy J. & De Knijf G. (2019). Staat van instandhouding (status en trends) van de soorten van de Habitatrichtlijn. Deelrapport niet-vliegende zoogdieren (rapportageperiode 2013-2018). Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek 2019 (11). Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussel. https://doi.org/10.21436/inbor.16136075

Van Den Berge K., Van Der Veken T., Gouwy J., Verschelde P. & Eeraerts M. (2021). Dietary composition and overlap among small- and medium-sized carnivores in Flanders, Belgium. Ecological Research 37: 163–170. https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1703.12276

Zuur A., Ieno E.N., Walker N., Saveliev A.A. & Smith G.M. (2009). Mixed Effects Models and Extensions in Ecology with R. Springer Science and Business Media.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.26496/bjz.2022.97

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


The Royal Belgian Society of Zoology acknowledges the Universitarian Foundation of Belgium and the National Fund of Scientific Research for their financial support in publishing the Belgian Journal of Zoology.