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Author (up) Shier, D.M.; Owings, D.H. url  doi
  Title Effects of social learning on predator training and postrelease survival in juvenile black-tailed prairie dogs, Cynomys ludovicianus Type Journal Article
  Year 2007 Publication Animal Behaviour. Abbreviated Journal Anim. Behav.  
  Volume 73 Issue 4 Pages 567-577  
  Keywords antipredator behaviour; black-tailed prairie dog; Cynomys ludovicianus; postrelease survival; predator avoidance; social learning  
  Abstract We examined how social context and experience affected development of antipredator behaviour and subsequent postrelease survival in the black-tailed prairie dog. Captive-reared juveniles were initially exposed to four stimulus animals: a ferret, a rattlesnake, a hawk and a cottontail control (pretraining tests). Subjects were then trained with or without an adult female demonstrator. Training involved exposure to each stimulus animal two to three times over 5 weeks. After training, each juvenile was retested with each stimulus animal (post-training tests). During pretraining tests, juveniles responded differentially to the stimulus animals. They were least active with the snake, fled the most in tests with the hawk, and were less vigilant with the ferret than with the snake. Following training, juveniles trained with experienced adults were more wary with all three predators than juveniles trained without an experienced adult present. We then compared the antipredator behaviour of captive-reared juveniles trained with experienced adult females with that of wild-reared juveniles of the same age. For all behavioural measures except shelter use, wild-experienced animals differentiated more strongly among predator types than did captive-trained juveniles. One year after reintroduction, survivorship of juveniles trained with experienced adults was higher than that of juveniles trained without experienced adults, but did not differ from that of wild-reared juveniles. These findings provide the first evidence that social transmission of antipredator behaviour during training can enhance long-term survival following release and that as long as a social training regime is used, predator avoidance training can emulate experience acquired in the wild.  
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  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 4212  
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