Interspecific competition often occurs when sympatric carnivores compete for the same, limited resources, although the degree of competition between species pairs may vary with biotic factors such as body-size, diet and population density. Avoidance of dominant competitors along the axes of space and time is a potential mechanism for reducing chances of direct encounters between species. However, when resources are essential and spatially fixed, options for spatial partitioning may be limited. We examined resource partitioning within a guild of eight carnivore species at water sources across two commercial farmlands in southwest Namibia. In this semi-desert environment, surface water is scarce and farmers are forced to provision water for livestock through artificial means. Camera traps were used to record spatial and temporal activity patterns of carnivore species at artificial and natural permanent water sources. We found carnivores to use either spatial or temporal resource partitioning, with temporal partitioning being most frequently seen. An association was seen between difference in body mass and degree of spatial partitioning, where species pairings with larger differences in body mass showed the greatest degree of partitioning. These results show that whilst in arid environments water is rare and used by a number of carnivore species, resource partitioning allows a guild of carnivores, including species of conservation concern, to coexist outside of protected areas.
- activity pattern, camera trapping, carnivores, partitioning, intraguild predation, Namibia