Temporal variation in habitat use, co-occurrence, and risk among generalist predators and a shared prey
Generalist predators typically have broad diets, but their diets may become constrained when one species of prey becomes disproportionately available. Yet there is poor understanding regarding whether generalist predators exhibit stereotypic relationships with pulsed prey resources. We used telemetry data from 959 woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou (Gmelin, 1788); 146 adult females, 813 calves), 61 coyotes (Canis latrans Say, 1823), and 55 black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) to investigate how two generalist predators interacted with caribou neonates on the island of Newfoundland. We examined the similarity of patterns of habitat use between caribou and their predators across time and related this similarity to interspecific spatiotemporal co-occurrence and mortality risk for caribou neonates. The similarity in habitat use between coyotes and caribou mirrored variation in juvenile hazard risk, but had weak association with actual co-occurrence with caribou. Bears and caribou exhibited less similarity in habitat use during the calving season than coyotes and caribou. The relationship between habitat use of bear and caribou did not correspond with either co-occurrence patterns or overall risk for caribou neonates. Our work illustrates how risk for a prey species can be shaped differently based upon differences between the behavioural strategies of generalist predator species.