Competing species help each other at times: study

Social connections between animals, including those belonging to competing species, play a much bigger role in ecology than previously believed, according to a study. Researchers found that some animals in the wild like gazelles, wildebeests or zebras become aware of the presence of a predator such as a lion by observing how other species in their vicinity react, using their social network to keep themselves safe. The study was published in the journal Ecology . “There’s mounting evidence that different species pay attention to each other in the wild, especially if they share predators,” said Mike Gil from the University of California, Davis. The effects of such short-term behaviour are especially strong at low population densities, he said. When the number of animals of a species living in a specific region is high, the models show that the competition between species is a stronger influence on their behaviour, the study noted.

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