chapter  11
29 Pages

Do wild canids kill for fun?

ByRobert G. Appleby, Bradley P. Smith

This chapter provides the question of whether surplus killing was fun, and by approximation, could it be considered a leisure activity. Adversarial viewpoints about wild canids tend to emphasise their role in livestock losses, and surplus killing can evoke particularly emotional responses in this regard. Keeping predators and domestic livestock apart and preventing or modifying what predators learn about domestic prey vulnerability might represent the clearest path to resolving conflict. Kruuk defines surplus killing as the killing of prey by a predator, without the killing individual, or members of its social unit, consuming any part of the kill. This is despite the particular prey species being ordinarily eaten by that predator, and free access to the carcass. Some argue against the use of the term surplus killing altogether because of the negative connotations associated with it, preferring instead the term partial prey consumption, as this is so often a major feature of such events.