Golden eagles, feral pigs, and insular carnivores: How exotic species turn native predators into prey

  • Roemer G
  • Donlan C
  • Courchamp F
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Abstract

Island ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to exotic species. Here we show how an introduced prey has led to the wholesale restructuring of an island food web, including the near extinction of an endemic carnivore. Introduced pigs, by providing abundant food, enabled golden eagles to colonize the California Channel Islands. Eagles preyed heavily on the island fox, whose resulting decline toward extinction released populations of the competitively inferior island skunk. The presence of exotic pigs led to major ecosystem shifts by indirectly causing predation to replace competition as the dominant force shaping these island communities.

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Authors

  • G. W. Roemer

  • C. J. Donlan

  • F. Courchamp

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