How to train your wildlife: A review of predator avoidance training

Edwards, Megan C. and Ford, Caitlin and Hoy, Julia M. and FitzGibbon, Sean and Murray, Peter J. ORCID: (2020) How to train your wildlife: A review of predator avoidance training. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 234:105170. pp. 1-7. ISSN 0168-1591


Many studies report that translocation projects using captive or captive-bred animals have low success rates. Captive animals can quickly lose natural behaviours, including recognition of predators, when isolated from natural pressures. To combat this, pre-release behavioural conditioning is often used in conservation trans-locations to encourage natural behaviours and promote survival after release. Predator avoidance training is a conditioning technique that aims to improve prey responses to predators, usually by pairing a predator cue with an unpleasant stimulus. In this review, we collated and reviewed published literature on predator avoidance training and the methods used. Fish are the most common animal class to undergo predator avoidance training (42 % of published studies), followed by mammals (29 %), birds (20 %), amphibians (7 %) and reptiles (2 %). The majority of studies occurred in North America, Oceania, Europe, and South America, with very few studies in Asia, and none in Africa. The methods used during predator avoidance training varied highly, with a range of predator cues and unpleasant stimuli used. Further investigation into the most successful method of predator avoidance training is warranted, in order to determine which method work best for each animal group, and guarantee the best chance of survival for animals being trained. While most studies reported success, only one third of the studies released animals after predator avoidance training to determine how it affects their survival. Release and monitoring of animals is vital to determine the efficacy and validity of predator avoidance training, and should be examined further.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 41287
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2021 23:15
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 04:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conservation, Predator-prey interactions, Reintroduction, Translocation, Wildlife management
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour
06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310399 Ecology not elsewhere classified
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180699 Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only