Project Title

Assessing mesopredator foraging habits in response to an extirpated and extant predator

Project Abstract

Landscape of fear is the perceived threat of predation, whether spatial or temporal, within an environment that can affect prey communities and their foraging habits. Because of the perceived threat of predation, the foraging habits of prey species are mitigated, which in turn lessens environmental strains such as overgrazing, which can reduce plant biomass. The effects of landscape of fear can also extend to mesopredator populations. Specifically, in environments without apex predators, mesopredator populations, such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), may increase and lead to declines in their prey via depredation of both terrestrial and aquatic species. To replicate predation risks on an environment, and thus implement an artificial landscape of fear to determine if predation risks restrain mesopredator foraging habits, previous studies have used audio playbacks of known raccoon predators. While previous studies have used audio cues from extant predators to simulate a landscape of fear for raccoons, none have used the audio cues of an extirpated predator such as the red wolf (Canis rufus). Using foraging stations and audio cues from a current (coyotes [Canis latrans]), extirpated (red wolves), and non-predator (barred owls [Strix varia]) we will implement a landscape of fear model to determine if raccoons will display similar antipredator responses to a historic, extirpated predator compared to an extant predator. Our data could provide support for the restoration of these extirpated predators to the landscape to benefit populations of raccoon prey.

Funding Type

Research Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology


Wildlife and Conservation Biology/Conservation Biology


Master of Science, Wildlife and Conservation Biology




Andrea Darracq, PhD

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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