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Dog eat dog, cat eat dog: Social-ecological dimensions of dog predation by wild carnivores

Authors:
  • Biosphere Environmental Consultants
  • Wildlife Conservation Society, India.
Chapter

Dog eat dog, cat eat dog: Social-ecological dimensions of dog predation by wild carnivores

Abstract and Figures

This chapter discusses the predation of wild carnivores on dogs, considering the range of recorded carnivore species responsible for killing dogs around the world. It examines the potential dog-killing species to search for records of killing or consuming dogs. There were also findings of recorded dog killings by non-carnivorous species.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Free-Ranging Dogs and Wildlife Conservation. Edited by Matthew E. Gompper
© Oxford University Press 2014. Published 2014 by Oxford University Press.
accessed some publications from the Spanish and
Russian literature. In total 13 species have been
documented to kill dogs in 83 studies ( Table 5.1 ,
Figure 5.1 ). The gray wolf ( C. lupus ) occurred most
frequently (28 records), largely in Europe but also
in North America and Asia, followed by the leop-
ard ( Panthera pardus ; 18 records) in Africa and Asia.
Other felids documented were pumas ( Puma con-
color ) in North and South America, jaguars ( Panthera
onca ) in South America, Amur tigers ( P. tigris altaica )
in Asia (Siberia), and lions ( P. leo ) in Africa. Other
canids were coyotes ( C. latrans ) in North America,
dingoes ( C. f. dingo ) in Australia, and black-backed
jackals ( C. mesomelas ) in Africa. Spotted hyenas
( Crocuta crocuta ) also accounted for a relatively large
number of records in Africa. Striped hyenas ( Hyaena
hyaena ) regularly scavenge dog carcasses in their
African and Asian range and were assumed to prey
on dogs by three studies. There was one published
record of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) killing dogs
in Arctic Canada, and another of Asiatic black bears
( U. thibetanus ) killing young dogs in Nepal.
In addition, there were records of other, non-
carnivorous species killing dogs. In Africa, adult
male baboons ( Papio ursinus ) can kill dogs when vil-
lagers use them to repel baboon troops raiding their
crops and livestock ( Butler et al., 2004 ), and in Aus-
tralia southern cassowaries ( Casuarius casuarius ) can
5.1 Introduction
Due to their close relationship with humans, and
their ability to adapt to a wide range of social-
ecological systems, dogs ( Canis familiaris ) are prob-
ably the most numerous carnivores in the world
today. As the global human population continues
to grow and expand, dogs are more abundant and
widely distributed than ever before. This is par-
ticularly evident in developing nations, where the
majority of the world’s human population exists
and growth rates are highest (Gompper, Chapter 1 ).
Consequently, although dogs have long been a part
of the ecology of many landscapes, they are becom-
ing an even more in uential agent of anthropogen-
ic impact on biodiversity, interacting with native
wildlife and hence potentially modifying ecosys-
tems to an unprecedented degree ( Hansen et al.,
2005 ; Young et al., 2011 ).
One rarely studied form of interaction is preda-
tion on dogs by wild carnivores. As a preliminary
step for this chapter, we undertook a review of the
scienti c literature using Google, Google Scholar,
and ISI Web of Knowledge to assess the range of
carnivore species recorded as being responsible for
killing dogs around the world. We also examined
predation studies of potential dog-killing species
to  nd records of dogs being killed or consumed.
Most of this literature was in English, but we also
CHAPTER 5
Dog eat dog, cat eat dog:
social-ecological dimensions
of dog predation by wild
carnivores
James R.A. Butler , John D.C. Linnell , Damian Morrant , Vidya Athreya ,
Nicolas Lescureux , and Adam McKeown
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118 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Table 5.1 Details of the 83 records of wild carnivore species documented in published scientifi c literature as having preyed upon dogs in
different regions and countries of the world. Species are listed in descending order of total records.
Species Region Country Record
Gray wolf Asia India Jethva and Jhala 2004
Mongolia Hovens and Tungaslaktuja 2005
Tajikistan Bibikov 1988
Europe Albania and
Macedonia
Keci et al. 2008
Belarus Sidorovich et al. 2003
Estonia and Latvia Valdmann et al. 2005 ; Zunna et al. 2009
Finland Kojola and Kuittinen 2002 ; Kojola et al. 2004
Italy Boitani 1982 ; Ciucci et al. 1996
Poland Nowak et al. 2005 , 2011 ; Gula 2008
Portugal Vos 2000
Russia Bibikov 1988; Pozio et al. 2001
Spain Salvador and Abad 1987 ; Cuesta et al. 1991 ; Llaneza et al. 2000 ; Cortés 2001 ;
Barja 2009
Ukraine Bibikov 1988
North America USA Fritts and Paul 1989 ; Bangs et al. 2004 , 2005 ; Ruid et al. 2009 ; Edge et al. 2011
Leopard Africa Côte d'Ivoire Bodendorfer et al. 2006
Ethiopia Yirga et al. 2011 ; 2012
Kenya Kock et al. 1998 ; Kolowski and Holekamp 2006
Namibia Dabe 1997
Tanzania Kissui 2008
Zimbabwe Butler et al. 2004
Asia Bhutan Wang and Macdonald 2009
India Johnsingh 1983 ; Edgaonkar and Chellam 1998 ; Ramakrishnan et al. 1999 ;
Mukherjee and Mishra 2001 ; Daniels 2009 ; Shah et al. 2009 ; Mondal et al. 2011
Iran Sanei et al. 2011
Nepal Bhattarai and Kindlmann 2012
Pakistan Dar et al. 2009
Puma North America USA Robinette et al. 1959 ; Aune 1991 ; Davies 1991 ; Mansfi eld 1991 ; Russ 1995 ;
Sanders and Halfpenny 1991 ; Torres et al. 1996 ; Leberg et al. 2004
South America Brazil Mazzolli 2009
Venezuela Farrell et al. 2000
Coyote North America Canada Alexander and Quinn 2011
USA Howell 1982 ; Timm et al. 2004 ; Farrar 2007 ; Timm and Baker 2007 ; White and
Gehrt 2009
Spotted hyena Africa Ethiopia Atickem et al. 2010 ; Yirga et al. 2012
Kenya Kolowski and Holekamp 2006
Tanzania Holmern et al. 2007; Kissui 2008
Zimbabwe Butler, du Toit, and Bingham 2004
continued
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SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 119
To augment this review we used email to
survey our own contacts, the authors of re-
cent papers or reports on potential dog- killing
species, and various electronic mailing lists
for records of dogs being killed by predators.
kill dogs ( Kofron, 1999 ). Also, reptilian carnivores
attack and eat dogs, for example saltwater ( Crocody-
lus porosus ) and freshwater crocodiles ( C. johnstoni )
in Australia ( Mawson, 2004 ).
Table 5.1
Continued
Species Region Country Record
Tiger Asia Russia Miquelle et al. 1996 ; Goodrich and Miquelle 2005 ; Goodrich et al. 2011 ;
Tkachenko 2012
Lion Africa Tanzania Kissui 2008
Zimbabwe Butler et al. 2004
Dingo Australasia Australia Burger and Knowles 1976 ; Woodall et al. 1996
Striped hyena Asia India Gajera et al. 2009
Iran Monchot and Mashkour 2010
Jaguar South America Belize Foster et al. 2010
Black-backed jackal Africa Tanzania Holmern et al. 2007
Polar bear North America Canada Dyck 2006
Asiatic black bear Asia Nepal Stubblefi eld and Shrestha 2007
Species
Grey wolf
Leopard
Puma
Coyote
Spotted hyaena
Tiger
Lion
Dingo
Striped hyaena
Jaguar
Black-backed jackal
Polar bear
Asiatic black bear
Records
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Africa
Asia
Europe
North America
South America
Australasia
Figure 5.1 Summary of the 83 records of wild carnivore species documented in published scientifi c literature as having preyed upon dogs in
different regions of the world. See Table 5.1 for details.
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 11906-Gompper-Chap05.indd 119 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
120 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
dogs are killed by sympatric species in self-defense
(e.g., baboons and cassowaries).
The results also suggest an anthropogenic per-
spective. Because dog–human relationships vary so
greatly between and within social contexts ( Serpell,
1995 ), the loss of dogs to wild carnivore predation
may have differing emotional and economic im-
pacts on dog owners and their livelihoods. These
impacts may result in diverse responses by humans
to dog predation and their perceptions of the car-
nivores responsible. Unlike other interactions be-
tween dogs and wildlife, such as competition for
food resources (Vanak et al., Chapter 3 ) and patho-
gen transmission (Knobel et al., Chapter 6 ), preda-
tion on dogs may be a more direct driver of con ict
between humans and wild carnivores, mediated by
complex social and institutional factors.
This chapter explores the nature of dog preda-
tion from the published scienti c literature collated
above, augmented by our own  eld experience, un-
published data, and wildlife researchers’ and man-
agers’ anecdotal information. These data illustrate
the range of potential predator–prey interactions
between wild carnivores and dogs, and their in u-
ence on human–carnivore con ict. To synthesize
these patterns we present a typology of dog preda-
tion based on the theory of intraguild competition.
By integrating anthropogenic perspectives we then
develop a human impact gradient, and present a hy-
pothetical ‘heat map’ of ensuing human–carnivore
interactions for different social-ecological contexts.
We conclude that dog predation is a widespread but
poorly understood phenomenon, which has vary-
ing impacts for both humans and wild carnivores.
Furthermore, because the majority of dogs exist in
developing nations, interactions with wild carni-
vores are likely to result in a new and unique set
of challenges as these societies continue their rapid
socio-economic development.
5.2 Focal examples of wild carnivore
predation on dogs
5.2.1 Wolves in Asia, Europe, and North
America
Gray wolves are the most widespread wild car-
nivore species in the world, and across much of
This survey elicited replies from 55 researchers and
wildlife managers in Europe, North America, South
America, Australia, and Asia. In addition, we used
online search engines to review e-newspapers. Re-
sponses showed that brown or grizzly bears ( U.arc-
tos ), black bears ( U. americanus ), Eurasian lynx ( Lynx
lynx ), and golden eagles ( Aquilla chrysaetos ) have
also been occasionally documented killing dogs in
Europe and North America. Similarly, there are me-
dia reports of amethystine pythons ( Morelia amethis-
tina ) and wedge-tailed eagles ( A. audax ) killing and
consuming dogs in Australia, and Burmese pythons
( Python molurus bivittatus ) in Asia. In fact, predation
or killing of dogs by a broader range of species is
evident from numerous researchers’ experiences,
management agency records, and media reports,
but is rarely mentioned in scienti c papers.
These anecdotes imply that records in the scien-
ti c literature are unlikely to be an accurate rep-
resentation of the extent of predation on dogs by
the listed carnivores. Numbers of records will be
a function of the geographic range of the carni-
vore concerned, contact rates related to dog and
carnivore population densities within the spe-
cies’ overlapping ranges, variable investment in
research among countries, and scientists’ publica-
tion rates and interests. Furthermore, most studies
mentioned an isolated incident anecdotally, while
only a minority speci cally investigated predatory
interactions.
However, the literature review and survey results
do illustrate the diversity of carnivores that dogs
may interact with, which raises questions about
the differing characteristics of these ecological rela-
tionships. Considering that dogs and native carni-
vores are potentially members of the same trophic
guild, predatory interactions may be considered
as intraguild predation, de ned as the killing (and
sometimes eating) of potential competitors because
both species utilize the same prey resources and
also bene t nutritionally from preying upon one
another ( Linnell and Strand, 2000 ; Palomares and
Caro, 1999 ; Polis and Myers, 1989 ). Within this
broad de nition there is a continuum from asym-
metrical predation, in which one species kills and
eats the other, to symmetrical predation, in which
both species may kill each other. There also appears
to be a separate, non-predatory dimension where
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SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 121
Croatia ( Bibikov, 1988 ; Cuesta et al., 1991 ; Pozio
etal., 2001 ).
There have been several attempts to explain vari-
ation in dog-killing by wolves. Three factors are
commonly cited. First, there is a broad positive cor-
relation between dog-killing and increasing wolf
population size, for example in cases of recovering
or reintroduced wolf populations ( Ruid et al., 2009 ).
A second correlation is for dog killing to be associ-
ated with areas ( Cuesta et al., 1991 ; Kojola and Kuit-
tinen, 2002 ; Pozio et al., 2001 ) and periods ( Pozio
et al., 2001 ; Sidorovich et al., 2003 ) of low prey den-
sity, implying that dogs can be targeted if natural
prey is extremely rare. A third trend is for speci c
packs to become habitual dog-killers ( Kojola et al.,
2004 ). These patterns are also clearly modulated
by the local availability of dogs, which depends
on how the local human population use and keep
them. Throughout Europe, Siberia, and North
America dogs are commonly used by recreational
hunters. In most cases hunting dogs, either singly
or in groups, are released to drive or locate game.
Many of the attacks are on free-ranging hunting
dogs during the process of training or hunting. Of
all lethal attacks on dogs, the percentage involving
hunting dogs varies from 30% in Finland ( Kojola
and Kuittinen, 2002 ), 47% in Belarus ( Sidorovich
et al., 2003 ), 59% in Michigan ( Edge et al., 2011 ),
80% in Sweden (Swedish Wildlife Damage Center
unpublished data), to 87% in Wisconsin ( Ruid et al.,
2009 ). Most of the remaining cases were dogs killed
in yards, and a few while guarding livestock.
This implies that dogs are killed in three contexts.
The  rst is when dogs such as hunting dogs are run-
ning free in wolf habitat. This requires no active ef-
fort of the wolf to  nd the dog and the attack may
even be provoked by the dog seeking the wolves.
The second is where dogs are killed in villages or
yards, often when chained to a building, suggesting
that the wolf actively sought out the dog and killed
it without provocation. The third is when livestock-
guarding or herding dogs are killed during a wolf
attack on livestock. An additional context concerns
wolves killing feral dogs. Although it is widely
believed that wolves control feral dog numbers in
Spain, possibly through predation ( Blanco et al.,
1992 ), there have been no formal studies to con rm
this. The extent to which dogs are then consumed
their range they occur in areas with a substantial
presence of humans and dogs. Wolves occupy a
diversity of habitats, exploiting an equally large
range of prey, and coexisting with human cultures
with varied land use and socio-economic status.
It is well known that wolves kill dogs throughout
most of their area of overlap, although only a few
studies have speci cally investigated this phenom-
enon (e.g., Edge et al., 2011 ; Fritts and Paul, 1989 ;
Kojola and Kuittinen, 2002 ; Kojola et al., 2004 ). In
some countries, detailed records are kept of do-
mestic animals killed by wolves as part of con ict
management protocols, often associated with the
existence of compensation programs. Such data are
available from several states in the USA (Minnesota,
Michigan, Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming)
and countries in Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland,
Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Croatia).
There is great variation in the average number
of dogs killed each year, both within and between
sites. Typical rates are <20 dogs/yr killed within
each of these states or countries, with the exception
of Croatia where >90 dogs/yr are reported killed.
Furthermore, there are a range of anecdotal accounts
of wolf– human relationships from across the wolf’s
range that also document wolf predation. These
include Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia,
Germany, Spain, Italy, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan,
although in some of these areas the extent of killing
may be very low. Dog remains have also been record-
ed in wolf diet studies from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Belarus, Russia, Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Roma-
nia, Ukraine, Tajikistan and India ( see Table 5.1 and
multiple personal communications).
The overall indication is that dog-killing is wide-
spread, occurring wherever wolves and dogs are
sympatric. However, the extent of the killing is
usually infrequent and irregular. There is little evi-
dence that dogs constitute a major part of wolf diet,
although this could often be due to the tendency
of researchers to focus on remote study sites with
relatively low human (and dog) densities. In stud-
ies where dogs do occur in wolf diet, they tend to
be represented in <5% of scats or stomachs. In only
a handful of cases can dogs be described as a major
source of wolf nutrition. Most of these are in areas
or periods where natural prey occurs at very low
density, such as parts of western Russia, Spain, and
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122 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
et al., 2007 ; Kissui, 2008 ; Kolowski and Holekamp,
2006 ; Yirga et al., 2011 , 2012). In rural regions where
traditional agro-pastoralism co-exists with large
carnivores, lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas are
the main predators of livestock and dogs. Holmern
et al. (2007) recorded an instance of a black-backed
jackal killing a dog in Tanzania, and similar records
exist in Zimbabwe (where dogs also kill jackals:
Butler, 1998 ; Vanak et al., Chapter 3 ), but we are not
aware of records of side-striped ( Canis adustus ) or
golden jackals ( C. aureus ) killing dogs. African wild
dogs ( Lycaon pictus ) and cheetahs ( Acinonyx jubatus )
are also predators of livestock but, again, we are un-
aware of records of either killing dogs. Due to their
similar omnivorous ecology brown hyenas ( Hyaena
brunnea ) may compete with dogs where their rang-
es overlap (Vanak et al., Chapter 3 ), but there are
no records of predatory interactions between them.
Throughout African agro-pastoralist systems,
dogs are kept to deter wildlife from raiding live-
stock and crops ( Atickem et al., 2010 ; Kissui, 2008 ;
Kolowski and Holekamp, 2006 ) and also for livestock
herding, hunting, and protecting homes ( Butler and
Bingham, 2000 ; Knobel et al., 2008 ). Homesteads are
usually open or only partially fenced, allowing dogs
to roam and breed freely, while also providing little
protection from predators ( Atickem et al., 2010 ; But-
ler and Bingham, 2000 ; Kolowski and Holekamp,
2006 ). The relationship between dogs and humans
observed in most rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa
has remained largely unchanged since dog immi-
gration with the Bantu 2,000–4,000 years ago ( Gal-
lant, 2002 ). Modern day dog densities have been
recorded as ranging between 6 and 21 per km
2 in
Kenya ( Kitala et al., 1993 ) and 8 and 53 per km
2 in
rural Zimbabwe, and are likely to be increasing rap-
idly ( Butler and Bingham, 2000 ).
Only one detailed analysis of the predator–prey
relationships between wild carnivores and dogs has
been undertaken, in a 33 km
2 section of Gokwe Com-
munal Land (GCL) bordering the Sengwa Wildlife
Research Area (SWRA), Zimbabwe ( Butler and du
Toit, 2002 ; Butler et al., 2004 ). The study area con-
tained 130 households, 937 people, and 236 dogs,
plus 537 cattle ( Bos indicus ), 819 goats ( Capra hircus ),
157 donkeys ( Equus africanus asinus ), and small num-
bers of sheep ( Ovis aries ) and pigs ( Sus scrofa ). Cattle
were the most valuable livestock (US$100 per head
also varies enormously, but occurs in around half
the cases.
Hence dog-killing by wolves is a complex ecologi-
cal phenomenon, involving aspects of predation,
defense, or dominance ( Karlsson and Jaxgård, 2004 ).
The relative extent to which one of these mecha-
nisms is responsible is likely to vary over space and
time, and the mechanisms are not mutually exclu-
sive. Studying wolf predation on dogs is also chal-
lenging because it is so poorly reported and is such a
rare event when viewed from either the perspective
of an individual dog at risk or from an individual
wolf. For example, in Scandinavia the Scandinavian
Wolf Project (SKANDULV) has been conducting in-
tensive telemetry-based studies of wolf predation
since the late 1990s. This project has found more
than 800 wolf-killed prey items, but dogs are not
among them. However, during the same period
the region’s wildlife management system has docu-
mented 293 dogs killed by wolves (Swedish Wildlife
Damage Center; Norwegian Directorate for Nature
Management, unpublished data).
Although the number of dogs killed may be sta-
tistically insigni cant relative to other livestock
predation, it can have a dramatic impact on con-
servation discourses. In some cultures humans and
dogs have strong social and emotional links, and
dogs are treated as family or team members ( Hara-
way, 2003 ; Sanders, 1993 , 2003; Serpell, 1995 ). Good
hunting and livestock guarding dogs are valuable
and cannot be replaced quickly ( Lescureux and
Linnell, 2010 ). The loss of such an animal to a wolf
triggers strong emotional responses of grief. Finally,
the fact that wolves often enter villages and farm-
yards to take dogs close to houses may induce fear
because of the threat that they also pose to human
life. All of these mechanisms increase animosity to-
wards wolves and weaken community and politi-
cal support for their conservation ( Bisi et al., 2007 ;
Sjölander-Lindqvist, 2010 ; Skogen and Krange,
2003 ; Skogen et al., 2006 ).
5.2.2 Leopards, lions, spotted hyenas,
and jackals in Africa
Most records of dog predation in Africa are inciden-
tal within studies focusing on livestock predation by
large carnivores (e.g., Atickem et al., 2010 ; Holmern
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SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 123
1984 ), and therefore may resort to killing livestock
more regularly in drier conditions, as also indicat-
ed by the higher incidence of livestock predation
in dry season months. Hence dogs may become
more regular incidental prey during drought
years, both within communal lands and adjoin-
ing protected areas. However, due to the low eco-
nomic value of dogs, losses to predators had an
insigni cant economic effect on GCL households
relative to the impact of cattle, goat, and donkey
predation.
5.2.3 Leopards in Asia
Leopards are known for being highly adaptable
in terms of their habitat and diet requirements,
and this is demonstrated clearly in India where
they inhabit intact tropical forests, farmlands, and
suburban environments. The tendency of leop-
ards to kill and consume dogs has been widely
noted in the Indian colonial era hunting litera-
ture, with many records of leopards taking dogs
from close to, and even inside, human habita-
tion ( Daniels, 2009 ). However, there has been lit-
tle formal study of dog predation. Most wildlife
research in India occurs in the relatively intact
ecosystems of protected areas where dogs are not
normally present. In such areas it is not surpris-
ing that dogs do not register frequently in leopard
diet, and predation on dogs by leopards is often
only documented in anecdotal footnotes ( Johns-
ingh, 1983 ), or via occasional occurrence in scats
(<5% frequency; Ramakrishnan et al., 1999 ). In in-
tact ecosystems, leopards show a clear preference
for small- to medium-sized ungulates ( Hayward
et al., 2006 ). However, the few studies that have
occurred in landscapes where natural ungulate
prey are rare or absent have frequently found that
dogs can be the major prey item. For example,
dogs occurred in 25% of scats in Kashmir (Shah
et al., 2009), 64% of scats in Sanjay Gandhi Nation-
al Park ( Edgaonkar and Chellam, 1998 ), and 39%
of scats in rural Maharashtra (V. Athreya, unpub-
lished data). No other prey species was more com-
mon than dog in these three studies. Farmers and
migratory shepherds in Maharashtra have also
identi ed leopards as major predators of dogs (V.
Athreya, unpublished data).
in 1996 values), followed by donkeys ($40), pigs
($25), sheep ($15), and goats ($10) ( Butler, 2000 ). By
comparison, dogs were valued at $10. Leopards, li-
ons, and spotted hyenas traveled up to 3 km into
GCL at night, while dogs were sighted up to 6 km
within the SWRA, and these species were therefore
effectively sympatric.
Household surveys revealed that 23 dogs were
preyed upon during the study, representing ap-
proximately 10% of the population. By compari-
son, 5% of livestock holdings were taken by wild
carnivores ( Butler, 2000 ). For the 19 cases of dog
predation where the predator could be identi ed,
leopards were responsible for the most (53%), fol-
lowed by lions (42%) and spotted hyenas (5%).
Eighteen (78%) were killed away from the home-
stead, and  ve within the homestead perimeter.
Leopards were responsible for taking all dogs
killed within homesteads. All incidents took place
at night, and all dogs were wholly or partially
consumed. There was a seasonality to dog preda-
tion, with the monthly rate of kills for all three
predators being at least twice as high in the dry
season as that for the wet season. In total, the rate
of dry season kills (0.75 per month) was almost
four times greater than for the wet season (0.19 per
month). These patterns were also re ected in live-
stock predation, with 80% of losses occurring in
dry season months ( Butler, 2000 ). Radio- tracking
of dogs indicated that they were particularly vul-
nerable to predation due to their solitary scaveng-
ing away from homesteads and human protection
( Box 5.1 ).
Drought potentially escalated predatory inter-
actions between wild carnivores and dogs. The
failed wet season of 1994–95 was followed by a
sharp increase in dog sightings within the SWRA,
partially due to increased illegal hunting within
the reserve by GCL inhabitants related to food
shortages. Dogs also entered the SWRA indepen-
dently, perhaps due to a dwindling availability
of waste human food in GCL ( Butler and du Toit,
2002 ). This is corroborated by household surveys
in seven communal lands that recorded greater
incidences of stray or feral dogs during droughts
when food became scarce ( Butler, 1998 ). Leop-
ards and lions rely upon vegetative cover to hunt
wild prey successfully ( Schaller, 1972 ; van Orsdol,
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124 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Box 5.1 The ranging behavior and vulnerability of dogs to predation in rural Zimbabwe
Radio-tracking of 14 adult dogs from households adja-
cent to the SWRA enabled an analysis of dog behavior,
and hence their potential vulnerability to predation. Dogs
had a mean independent home range area (i.e., where
they moved freely without their owners) of 97.2 ha (range
0.3–316.0), and males had larger home ranges (mean
145.0 ha) than females (mean 33.5 ha). Seven of these
home ranges included areas up to 1 km inside the SWRA.
The outer limits of home ranges were often determined
by the locations of wild or domestic mammal carcasses
which the dogs scavenged, and for males the locations
of females in estrus ( Figure 5.2 ). Dogs spent the majority
of their time with their owners (76%) and in the imme-
diate vicinity of human habitation (63%). However, they
scavenged in their home ranges independently of people
and usually alone: 87 and 84% of dogs recorded at ex-
perimental carcasses arrived and fed alone, respectively
( Figure 5.3 ).
Of the radio-tracked dogs, one was killed and eaten
by a lion within its home range, at night, 400 m from
its owner’s homestead ( Figure 5.2 ), and another disap-
peared possibly due to predation. These detailed data
suggest that dogs were largely taken opportunistically as
prey when ranging independently of people away from
their homestead, usually at night. However, leopards ap-
peared to target dogs within homestead perimeters. In
contrast to Atickem et al. (2010), who recorded dogs
being killed while defending homesteads and livestock
against spotted hyena attacks in Ethiopia, none of the
cases in GCL involved similar agonistic interactions. The
F
F
F
C
SWRA
GCL
X
Legend
Dog’s homestead
Other homestead with dogs
Other homestead without dogs
Home range
Game fence
XPredation site
100
m
N
CarcassC
FEstrus female
Figure 5.2 Convex polygon independent home range (316 ha) for a 16 kg adult male dog in the Gokwe Communal Land (GCL), relative to
the neighboring Sengwa Wildlife Research Area (SWRA), derived from 94 fi xes over 188 consecutive days. The dog was killed and consumed
by a lion on the night of June 8, 1996 in a fi eld 400 m from the dog’s homestead.
continued
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12406-Gompper-Chap05.indd 124 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 125
Box 5.1
Continued
100
90
80
70
60
% observations
50
40
30
20
10
0
123
Group size
Arriving
Feeding
4
Figure 5.3 Group sizes of dogs arriving and feeding at 12 experimental carcasses in the Gokwe Communal Land and Sengwa Wildlife
Research Area, determined from 229 separate observations of dog meals.
tendency of dogs to forage and feed alone may render
them particularly vulnerable to predation. This is most
likely to occur at carcasses, which also attracted leopards,
lions, and spotted hyenas on the GCL–SWRA boundary
at night. Human activity is known to be at its lowest be-
tween 18:00 and 04:00, providing little interference to
nocturnal wild carnivores or protection to dogs during
this period ( Butler and du Toit, 2002 ).
The implication is that in the presence of pre-
ferred natural prey, dog-killing remains a wide-
spread but uncommon activity, but that in the
absence of wild prey, leopards can sustain them-
selves on a diet of dogs, supplemented with live-
stock. In India, dogs weigh approximately 15 kg,
are usually owned but unrestricted and therefore
largely unprotected, and are found throughout
the landscape at high densities (30–50 per km
2 ; V.
Athreya, unpublished data; Punjabi et al., 2012 ).
The deliberate targeting of dogs by leopards is
illustrated by the frequent cases of leopards pur-
suing owned dogs into houses (V. Athreya, un-
published data). In some areas, feral dogs are also
targeted by leopards. Similar situations probably
exist elsewhere in the region, as indicated by the
presence of dog remains in leopard diet in Bhu-
tan ( Wang and Macdonald, 2009 ), Nepal ( Bhattarai
and Kindlmann, 2012 ), Iran ( Sanei et al., 2011 ), and
Pakistan ( Dar et al., 2009 ).
5.2.4 Pumas and jaguars in the Americas
There are only a few published records in the sci-
enti c literature of pumas killing dogs, and dogs
are rarely reported in scats or among kills found
( Aune, 1991 ; Davies, 1991 ; Dettmann, 1991 ; Leberg
et al., 2004 ; Mans eld, 1991 ; Russ, 1995 ). However,
our survey of online sources, including newspapers
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12506-Gompper-Chap05.indd 125 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
126 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Box 5.2 The challenges of documenting rare events: the case of the puma
in the Americas
Reviewing the extent of large carnivore predation on dogs is
a challenging task for a number of reasons. First, although
our review indicates that it is a widespread phenomenon,
it does not appear to be frequent. This implies that within
any project researching wild carnivore diet it is highly un-
likely it will document many, if any, kills of dogs or scats
containing dog remains. Second, the study of pet predation
falls between an ecologically relevant focus on predation of
wild prey, and the economically relevant issues related to
predation on livestock. This leads to a reporting bias, such
that even if data exist they do not fi nd their way into the
published literature.
Our search for records of predation on dogs by the puma
illustrates this challenge. Initial searches using Google
Scholar and ISI Web of Knowledge, and keywords associated
with ‘puma,’ ‘dog,’ ‘pet,’ and ‘predation’ led us to only a
few articles that either mentioned in passing that pets are
occasionally killed by pumas ( Torres et al., 1996 ), record
the occurrence of dog hair in a single puma scat ( Leberg
et al., 2004 (in Louisiana, USA); Farrell et al., 2000 (in Ven-
ezuela)), or report anecdotally a single event ( Mazzolli, 2009
(in Brazil)). We then searched manually through all relevant
publications in our library collections, including data-based
scientifi c articles, technical reports, books, and conference
proceedings. We searched for records of dogs as prey spe-
cies, which led to one record ( Robinette et al., 1959 ), and a
few anecdotes in papers dealing with human–wildlife con-
ict ( Aune, 1991 ; Dettman 1991 ; Davies, 1991 ; Mansfi eld,
1991 ; Russ, 1995 ; Sanders and Halfpenny, 1991 ), with al-
most all coming from a single conference proceedings. We
then sent emails to researchers and wildlife managers who
had published on pumas in either scientifi c articles or confer-
ence proceedings during recent years. This elicited many re-
plies that reported records of pumas killing dogs in eight US
states and two Central American countries. The information
was based on results from research projects, interviews with
local people, and public records concerning wildlife damage
and depredation reports. As a fi nal line of enquiry we used
Google to search English language newspapers and news-
feeds in the USA and Canada. This revealed 38 individual
cases of dogs being attacked and killed in 10 US states and
2 Canadian provinces between 2000 and 2012 ( Table 5.2 ).
Table 5.2 The regional coverage of records of pumas killing dogs in North and South America as refl ected by sourcing different types of
information: scientifi c papers data-based; manual search of articles and proceedings; email survey of researchers and managers; Internet
search of online newspapers and newsfeeds.
State, province, or country Scientifi c papers
1 Articles and proceedings Email surveys
2 Online media
3
United States and Canada
Alberta 0 0 0 2
Arizona 0 0 0 1
British Columbia 0 0 0 6
California 0 2 1 8
Colorado 0 3 0 6
Florida 0 0 1 0
Idaho 0 0 0 3
Louisiana 1 0 0 0
Montana 0 1 0 2
Nevada 0 0 1 0
New Mexico 0 0 0 1
Oregon 0 0 1 2
continued
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12606-Gompper-Chap05.indd 126 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 127
mas frequently taking dogs from the yard or ve-
randa, and in one case even entering the house in
pursuit of the dogs. The houses tended to be on the
suburban–forest interface. Dogs varied in size from
Miniature Poodles to German Shepherds, and many
were consumed. In a few cases the pumas were
apparently injured and emaciated, although this did
not seem to be a general pattern ( Box 5.2 ). Pumas
and news reports from wildlife management agen-
cies, indicated that predation on dogs is wide-
spread, but occurs at low frequencies ( Box 5.2 ). We
found reports of pumas killing dogs in 15 US states
and 2 Canadian provinces during recent years,
with California, Colorado, and British Colum-
bia contributing the most records. The dogs were
often killed in close proximity to houses, with pu-
Box 5.2
Continued
Table 5.2
Continued
Hence the peer-reviewed scientifi c literature only gives
limited insight into the extent and frequency of pumas killing
dogs, especially when searches are confi ned to the use of key-
words in database searches. Secondary information from pub-
lications, the gray literature, media comment, and local experts
reveal a different picture. Pumas appear to kill dogs at low
frequency in most places where pumas occur ( Table 5.2 ). While
there is nothing to indicate that dogs are of dietary impor-
tance for pumas anywhere, the occasional killing of a pet has
potentially large repercussions for public tolerance of puma
presence, an issue that emerges clearly in the media coverage.
This example has fundamental implications for the
way that we review information related to wild carnivore
State, province, or country Scientifi c papers
1 Articles and proceedings Email surveys
2 Online media
3
South Dakota 0 0 1 0
Texas 0 1 0 1
Utah 0 0 1 2
Washington 0 0 1 4
Wyoming 0 0 1 0
Latin America
Brazil 1 0 0
Guatemala 0 0 1
Mexico 0 0 1
Venezuela 1 0 0
TOTAL 3 7 10 38
1 Number of articles.
2 Number of respondents giving a positive reply.
3 Number of unique cases mentioned by diverse media. Only North American media were searched.
conservation. As scientists we like to insist on the use of
peer-reviewed material because it is easy to access and
has been quality-controlled. However, as shown above,
this insistence can lead to a bias and underestimation of
the importance of certain issues. While the recent focus
on evidence-based conservation is laudable, we must not
ignore other forms of knowledge, including unpublished
data and media reports. Furthermore, the mutual rec-
ognition and integration of local knowledge and expert
opinion is particularly important because conflict over
large wild carnivores must be resolved through multi-
stakeholder co-management processes ( Butler, 2011 ;
Young et al., 2012 ).
Table 5.2
Continued
Box 5.2
Continued
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12706-Gompper-Chap05.indd 127 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
128 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
also kill and occasionally eat coyotes, implying that
dog killing is likely to have both nutritional and in-
traguild competitive motivations. In South America
there is only one published report of a puma kill-
ing a dog (Brazil; Mazzolli, 2009 ), and one other
of dog hair occurring in a scat (Venezuela; Farrell
et al., 2000 ).
Similarly, there is limited published scienti c
information on dog predation by jaguars in South
America. In Belize, jaguars preyed on dogs and
other livestock on the periphery of a protected area
where wild prey was scarce, while sympatric pu-
mas avoided these areas and were not recorded
preying on dogs, perhaps due to competitive inter-
actions with jaguars ( Foster et al., 2010 ). Our online
search and survey among researchers for anecdotal
information also revealed occasional incidents of
jaguar predation on dogs in many parts of Central
and South America.
5.2.5 Coyotes in North America
The last few decades have seen a shift in North
American research on con ict between coyotes
and humans. From early concern about the role
of coyotes as predators of livestock, there is an
emerging focus on direct con ict between coyotes
and humans. These interactions occur frequently
in suburban areas, especially at the suburban–
wildland interface. In many parts of North Amer-
ica, coyotes have shown an ability to occupy these
suburban habitats and exploit human food sourc-
es. This includes attacking and killing dogs and
cats ( F. catus ), and coyotes are often killed by dogs
( Kamler et al., 2003 ). The fact that coyotes kill and
occasionally consume pet dogs has been reported
in many studies ( Alexander and Quinn, 2011 ; Far-
rar, 2007 ; Lukasik and Alexander, 2011 ; Timm and
Baker, 2007 ; White and Gehrt, 2009 ), although lit-
tle quantitative data has been published because
pet attacks are overshadowed by the controversy
caused by coyote attacks on humans ( Timm and
Baker, 2007 ). The development of problem behav-
ior in suburban coyotes has been hypothesized to
follow a habituation gradient, whereby coyotes
begin to lose their fear of people, then begin to ex-
ploit human foods, and ultimately try to attack pets
or people ( Schmidt and Timm, 2007 ). The focus
of these studies has been to use pet attacks as an
early warning for situations of potential danger to
humans. Dog-killing by suburban coyotes therefore
appears to only begin once coyotes have become
suf ciently habituated to human presence. Howev-
er, once they have overcome this fear, it seems that
dog-killing may be motivated by both predation
and territorial defense.
5.2.6 Tigers in Asia
Dietary studies have not identi ed dogs as prey
of tigers in most regions of Asia, largely because
tiger research there tends to occur in protected ar-
eas with low human densities. However, Amur
tigers in Siberia exist in multi-use landscapes and
dog-killing and their consumption as prey is well
documented, both as remains in scats and among
recorded kills ( Miquelle et al., 1996 ; Tkachenko,
2012 ). The main data source is reports of tiger–hu-
man con icts recorded by researchers and wildlife
management authorities. Dogs are by far the most
commonly killed domestic animal. For example,
in one study they constituted 63% of the 254 docu-
mented domestic animal kills ( Goodrich et al., 2011 ).
The dogs were often killed in the middle of vil-
lages and when chained outside houses, implying
that the tigers were deliberately targeting the dogs
rather than killing them following chance encoun-
ters. However, there were also cases of predation
on free-ranging hunting dogs in the forest. Because
these dogs are often highly valued, their death trig-
gers considerable negative feelings and retaliatory
killing by their owners ( Goodrich et al., 2011 ). Ironi-
cally, Tkachenko (2012) found that in some cases the
tigers responsible for attacks on dogs were injured
and/or emaciated as a direct result of such human
persecution. The tiger–dog relationship is especially
interesting considering the evidence for competitive
exclusion of wolves by tigers. Existing data indicate
that Amur tigers have a dramatic effect on wolf dis-
tribution ( Miquelle et al., 2005 ); hence it is possible
that dogs are also viewed as intraguild competitors
and killed.
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12806-Gompper-Chap05.indd 128 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 129
and wild dogs come into regular contact, particu-
larly in rural areas ( Allen and Fleming, 2004 ), but
there are surprisingly few scienti c records of dog
predation. Burger and Knowles (1976) reported
dogs being killed by dingoes on Fraser Island, and
Woodall et al. (1996) noted dogs being ‘lured’ away
from human habitation by a female dingo in estrus,
and then being attacked by the other members of
the dingo pack. Box 5.3 highlights one such study in
the Wet Tropics bioregion of Queensland that may
be representative of the growing con ict between
dingoes, domestic dogs, and people in suburban
and peri-urban regions of Australia.
5.2.7 Dingoes in Australia
In Australia, dingoes and feral ‘wild dogs’ (dingo x
domestic dog hybrids) are a cause of major econom-
ic losses for the sheep and cattle industry, result-
ing in speci c legislation in some states requiring
landholders to control themon their property us-
ing lethal measures, such as trapping with cage or
padded-jaw traps, shooting, and/or poisoning with
1080 (sodium mono uoroacetate) or strychnine
baits ( Fleming et al., 2001 ). Dogs are kept by Aus-
tralians primarily as pets, but in rural areas they are
highly valued as working dogs, and for hunting fe-
ral pigs ( ACAC, 2010 ). Consequently dogs, dingoes,
Box 5.3 Confl ict between dingoes, domestic dogs, and people in the peri-urban Wet Tropics
of Australia
The Wet Tropics bioregion of north-east Queensland is char-
acterized by native rainforest covering the coastal escarp-
ment, and much of the region is protected by the Wet Tropics
World Heritage Area (WHA). Following European settlement
in the late nineteenth century, the coastal fl oodplains and
inland tablelands were cleared for timber and agriculture.
Today this landscape is a mosaic of diverse habitat types,
including remnant coastal rainforest and mangroves, in-
terspersed with sugar cane, horticultural production, and
cattle grazing ( Pert et al., 2012 ). The Wet Tropics has a
rapidly-growing human population which has been fore-
cast to increase from 216,000 in 2004 to 300,000 in 2024
( McDonald and Weston, 2004 ). This growth is driven by im-
migrants from large southern Australian cities seeking an
idyllic tropical lifestyle ( Bohnet and Pert, 2010 ). The resulting
suburban expansion is encroaching on surrounding agricul-
tural land and protected areas, which brings owned dogs
into increasing contact with dingoes and wild dogs.
Dingoes in the Wet Tropics maintain home ranges of up to
120 km
2 , moving between peri-urban areas and WHA forest
(D. Morrant, unpublished data). When roaming dingoes move
into human-populated areas, their territorial and predatory
behaviors bring them into direct confl ict with humans. While
they primarily prey on small to medium-sized wild animals
(50 g–19 kg), they also occasionally attack and kill domestic
animals. In 2011, a questionnaire survey of 3000 households
across all land use types was undertaken to assess the fre-
quency and characteristics of such attacks on owned dogs.
Records of attacks were also obtained from Pest Manage-
ment Offi cers from Cairns Regional Council, the most popu-
lous council in the Wet Tropics, and AgForce Queensland, the
representative body for the state’s cattle industry.
Twelve respondents (6%) reported attacks on their dogs
by dingoes. An additional nine incidents were reported by
the Pest Management Offi cers, and three during discussions
with farmers. Of the 24 incidents, 10 (42%) occurred on
suburban fringes and 13 in rural agricultural areas ( Figure
5.4 ). Five of the seven interactions that were witnessed by
respondents involved packs of up to six dingoes. Domestic
dogs were injured in twenty incidents, and killed in four, but
not consumed. Witness descriptions often emphasized the
determination of the dingoes to attack the dogs concerned.
One cattle grazier fought off three dingoes with a stock whip
when they attacked his dog within 50 m of his house. An-
other farmer reported that a “pack of wild dogs” returned
on three consecutive nights to attack her dog. Another re-
spondent claimed that a male domestic dog was “lured from
[the] yard by a female in heat,” and then mauled by six other
dingoes. This owner physically separated the animals to pro-
tect his dog.
The responses revealed a strong emotional reaction and a
willingness on the part of dog-owners to protect their pets.
Owners of attacked dogs were angry and upset, and were
also concerned for the safety of local children and other pets,
prompting dingo and wild dog population control. Legal
continued
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 12906-Gompper-Chap05.indd 129 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
130 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Box 5.3
Continued
Suburban attacks
Mareeba
Atherton
Cairns
Mt.Molloy
Mossman
N
Innisfail
Tully
0 10 20 40 60 80 100
Kilometers
Legend
Rural attacks
Wet Tropics Bioregion
Wet Tropics World Heritage Area
Rural areas
Suburban areas
Ocean
Figure 5.4 The location of 20 dingo attacks on domestic dogs in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia, relative to land use. Four records
are not shown because locations were not provided by respondents.
retaliatory control measures followed six of the incidents.
Approximately 10% of the landholders surveyed had en-
gaged in lethal control of dingoes and wild dogs in the past
12 months. However, Pest Management Offi cers admitted
that they intentionally avoided killing suspected ‘pure’ din-
goes, in the belief that dingoes with a stable pack structure
pose less of a threat to pets and livestock than wild dogs,
and exclude wild dogs from their home ranges.
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13006-Gompper-Chap05.indd 130 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 131
in Zimbabwe. At the symmetrical extreme dogs
are attacked and killed as competitors but rarely
eaten, for example by dingoes in Australia. At this
extreme, dogs are equally likely to attack but not
necessarily consume competitors (see Vanak et al.,
Chapter 3 ).
In addition, there are intermediate relationships
which involve elements of both. This is most evi-
dent for wolves, which exhibit a complex range
of behaviors towards dogs, both targeting them
as competitors, preying upon them for food, and
also killing them when challenged by hunting or
livestock guard dogs. Given some evidence that
they kill wild canids, predation of dogs by tigers
and pumas may also contain elements of competi-
tive exclusion. Spotted hyenas may also compete
with dogs in Africa for carrion and human refuse
( Butler and du Toit, 2002 ; Vanak et al., Chapter 3 ),
and hence a similar mix of predatory and com-
petitive elements could exist. Striped hyenas in
Africa and Asia may have a similar relationship,
but with a greater emphasis on competition for
human-derived food.
By considering the adult body mass of the wild
carnivores concerned relative to dogs and then
mapping these speci c relationships along the con-
tinuum of intraguild predation, a typology emerges
( Figure 5.5 ). This indicates that predators that have
a body mass at least twice that of dogs, such as li-
ons, leopards, pumas, jaguars, and tigers, have a
predominantly asymmetrical, predatory relation-
ship with dogs. This is to be expected since dogs
fall within the prey range of all of these carnivores,
and for leopards in particular, which are known to
favor small- to medium-sized mammals of 5–20 kg
(e.g., Bodendorfer et al., 2006 ; Hayward et al., 2006 ).
Those with a smaller or equivalent body mass to
dogs may have exclusively symmetrical relation-
ships involving competitive killing, for example
among black-backed jackals, coyotes, and dingoes.
Given their similar size, dogs are capable of killing
these species in agonistic interactions (Vanak et al.,
Chapter 3 ). Wolves, spotted and striped hyenas oc-
cupy an intermediate position, having a range of
predatory and competitive killing interactions with
dogs. In the case of wolves and striped hyenas, this
is perhaps because their body sizes overlap and also
exceed those of dogs.
5.2.8 Striped hyenas in Africa and Asia
Striped hyenas occur from the Horn of Africa
through the Middle East and into Asia, and through-
out their range are noted as being omnivorous and
generalist carnivores with a predilection for scaveng-
ing, particularly human waste around settlements
( Kruuk, 1976 ; Kuhn, 2005 ; Monchot and Mashkour,
2010 ). They also regularly prey upon small livestock
such as goats and sheep ( Gajera et al., 2009 ; Leakey
et al., 1999 ). Monchot and Mashkour (2010) have
suggested that their close association with humans
may even qualify as a commensal relationship.
Consequently striped hyenas are likely to come into
regular contact with dogs and compete with them,
particularly since in many of the regions within
their range dogs are likely to be free-ranging and
also scavenge human-derived food (Vanak et al.,
Chapter 3 ).
In spite of the likelihood of interactions there
are relatively few records of hyenas preying upon
dogs. There is evidence of hyenas feeding on dogs
in India ( Gajera et al., 2009 ), Kenya ( Leakey et al.,
1999 ), and Jordan ( Kuhn, 2005 ), and Monchot and
Mashkour (2010) state that in Iran sick dogs are
likely to be preyed upon, and hyenas interact ag-
gressively with dogs over carcasses. Hence the re-
lationship between dogs and hyenas appears to be
driven by direct interference competition for shared
food resources, although hyenas may opportunisti-
cally prey upon and consume young or sick dogs.
However, we could  nd no evidence of dogs killing
striped hyenas.
5.3 Synthesis
5.3.1 Ecological dimensions
The examples of dog predation reviewed above
reveal a wide range of ecological relationships be-
tween dogs and wild mammalian carnivores along
the continuum of intraguild predation. At the
asymmetrical extreme dogs are killed and eaten by
lions, leopards, tigers, jaguars, and pumas as food.
Records suggest that in many cases dogs are spe-
ci cally targeted as prey and eaten, for example by
leopards in India and Zimbabwe and tigers in Si-
beria. In other cases predation may be more oppor-
tunistic, for example with lions and spotted hyenas
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13106-Gompper-Chap05.indd 131 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
132 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
tween and within species, in uencing their ability to
prey upon or dominate dogs. Furthermore, we have
not included reptilian and avian carnivores, which
could distort the in uence of body mass. In spite of
these shortcomings, the typology highlights two fun-
damental principles. First, carnivores that prey on
dogs for food are most likely to be large felids, while
those involved in competitive killing are most likely
to be canids of a similar size to dogs. Second, a dog’s
risk of mortality during an intraguild interaction in-
creases with the body mass of the carnivore, because
it is more likely to be taken as prey ( Figure 5.5 ).
5.3.2 Social dimensions
Since their domestication from wolves, dogs have
become part of human society and culture, provid-
ing bene ts including transport, companionship,
livestock protection and herding, hunting aides,
and a source of food. Dogs can be perceived to
Polar, brown/grizzly, and black bears in North
America are among the largest carnivores in the
world and would therefore be expected to have an
extreme predatory relationship with dogs. How-
ever, reports of dog killing by bears are rare, which
is consistent with brown/grizzly and black bears’
more omnivorous ecology and the specialization of
polar bears as predators of marine mammals, plus
their very low levels of sympatry with dogs. Con-
sequently we have omitted these species, plus the
Asiatic black bear, from our typology.
This analysis is highly simpli ed, since all wild
carnivores considered have a wide range of body
masses that may in uence relationships with dogs
under different circumstances. These body masses
also ignore their immature life stages. Equally, dogs
vary in size depending on their breed and age: adult
Chihuahuas may only weigh 1–2 kg, while Bull Mas-
tiffs can weigh 50–60 kg. Also, the social behavior
and feeding strategy of wild carnivores may vary be-
Adult mass (kg)
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
240
260
Competitive killing
Symmetric
Predation
Asymmetric
Dog
PMA LPD
LON
TGR
SPHA
DGO
Canid
Felid
Hyaenid
JAG
Increasing risk of mortality and consumption
Intraguild predation
STHA
CTE
BBJ
WLF
Figure 5.5 A typology of intraguild relationships between wild mammalian carnivores and dogs, assuming an adult dog body mass of 15–25 kg.
The wider the symbol along the intraguild predation axis, the broader the range of intraguild relationships possible. The greater the body mass
relative to dogs, the more likely the relationship will involve predation, and the risk of mortality for dogs in interactions will increase. Abbreviations
(and sources for adult body mass data) are: BBJ black-backed jackal ( Loveridge and Nel, 2004 ); DGO dingo ( Letnic et al., 2011 ); CTE coyote
( Kennedy-Stoskopf, 2003 ); WLF grey wolf ( Kennedy-Stoskopf, 2003 ); SPHA spotted hyena ( Ramsay, 2003 ); TGR tiger ( Slaght et al., 2005 ); PMA puma
( Wack, 2003 ); LPD leopard ( Wack, 2003 ); JAG jaguar ( Wack, 2003 ); LON lion ( Wack, 2003 ); STHA striped hyena ( Monchot and Mashkour, 2010 ).
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13206-Gompper-Chap05.indd 132 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 133
are of generally low economic value relative to other
livestock, and consequently receive little investment
in their health or husbandry, exacerbated by dog
owners’ limited  nancial resources—often resulting
in unrestricted movements and breeding and low
life expectancy—but retaining a high dependence
on human-derived resources. Such dogs are typi-
ed by ‘village’ or ‘neighborhood’ dogs ubiquitous
to many rural and suburban areas of countries with
low HDIs such as Zimbabwe, Nepal, and Pakistan
( Table 5.3 ). Feral dogs are by de nition un-owned
and therefore receive no investment in their hus-
bandry, and may also have negative impacts as
pests. These animals have been recorded in varying
numbers in many different development contexts,
such as rural Italy ( Boitani and Ciucci, 1995 ; Boitani
et al., 1995 ), the United States ( Causey and Cude,
1980 ), Australia ( Fleming et al., 2001 ), and suburban
India ( Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer, 1975 ). This
emphasizes an important point that in any one na-
tion a range of dog–human relationships may exist
along a DDI continuum ( Table 5.3 ), which is deter-
mined by local variations in socio-economic status
and levels of human development.
5.3.3 Human impact
Combining the ecological and social dimensions
presented above allows the characterization of the
potential impacts of dog predation on human well-
being and livelihoods ( Figure 5.6 ). This suggests
have crossed the barrier between animality and hu-
manity, but their status varies widely between and
within cultures ( Serpell, 1995 ). In Western occiden-
tal cultures, dogs are often referred to as ‘man’s best
friend.’ They can be given human names, which
contribute to their individuality and personality in
anthropomorphic terms ( Haraway, 2003 ; Sanders,
2003 ). In addition, they contribute signi cantly to
human wellbeing ( Hart, 1995 ; Wells, 2007 , 2009 ).
Beyond cultural differences, it appears in several
countries that the number of dogs owned is cor-
related with socio-economic status and livelihood
pro le. Hence, in Tanzania, wealthier and better
educated households tended to own more dogs,
and rural households keeping livestock were also
most likely to own dogs ( Knobel et al., 2008 ). A
similar correlation is evident in more developed
countries such as the United Kingdom ( Westgarth
et al., 2007 ). Furthermore, an owners’ investment in
dog husbandry and health may increase with socio-
economic status. In Zimbabwe, dog condition score,
frequency of rabies vaccination, and rates of neuter-
ing were correlated with indicators of rural house-
holds’ af uence ( Butler, 1995 , 1998 ).
Generalizing these dog–human relationships as-
sists in anticipating the impacts that predation on
dogs by different wild carnivores could have on
humans, and thus the potential for con ict. The Hu-
man Development Index (HDI) is commonly used to
measure the standard of living amongst different na-
tions, based on indicators of education, health, and
per capita income ( UNDP, 2011 ). Assuming that there
is a correlation between HDI and the nature of a so-
ciety’s relationship with dogs, a logical parallel may
be a notional ‘dog development index’ (DDI). Dogs
with a high DDI typically have clear ownership,
high levels of husbandry and selective breeding,
and contribute signi cantly to their owners’ well-
being. These dogs have higher or similar economic
value relative to other domestic animals, and their
owners have disposable income to invest in their
health, resulting in high life expectancy ( Table 5.3 ).
Examples of such animals include urban pet dogs or
rural hunting, herding, and livestock guarding dogs
in nations with a very high HDI, such as Norway,
Australia, the United States, and Canada.
By contrast, dogs of low DDI have less clear own-
ership, limited or no selective breeding, and hence
less direct bene t for their owners’ wellbeing. They
Table 5.3 A continuum of dog–human relationships and relevant
indicators, termed the Dog Development Index.
Indicator Dog Development Index
High Low Feral
1. Owner’s Human Development
Index
High Intermediate None
2. Clarity of dog ownership High Low None
3. Dog’s selective breeding High Intermediate None
4. Dog’s contribution to owner’s
wellbeing
High Low None
5. Dog’s economic value relative
to other livestock
High Low None
6. Owner investment in dog’s
health and husbandry
High Low None
7. Dog’s life expectancy High Intermediate Low
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13306-Gompper-Chap05.indd 133 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
134 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
an impact gradient ranging from neutral for feral
dogs, to highly negative for dogs with high DDIs.
Predation on ‘village’ dogs with low DDIs is of in-
termediate impact. However, there is a subtle dis-
tinction in impact along the intraguild predation
continuum, with an increasing risk of mortality for
dogs towards the predation extreme, which will
potentially result in a greater human impact due to
the death of the dog. Although competitive attacks
can also result in lethal outcomes, there is a higher
probability of dog survival from these interactions.
Hence the greatest human impact is likely to occur
where dogs with high DDIs are killed by felids and
the largest canids as prey.
From the data reviewed and presented in this
chapter it is also possible to identify the location
of speci c wild carnivores on the impact gradient,
and the regions of the world where such interac-
tions are most likely to occur. The zone of highest
Figure 5.6 A hypothetical human impact gradient resulting from predation on dogs by wild mammalian carnivores in different ecological
and social contexts. This combines the dimensions of intraguild predation ( see Figure 5.5 ) and dog–human relationships ( see Table 5.3 ). Note
that negative impacts are greatest for predation on high dog development index dogs because the risk of mortality for dogs is higher than in
competitive killing. Abbreviations are: BBJ black-backed jackal; DGO dingo; CTE coyote; WLF grey wolf; SPHA spotted hyena; TGR tiger; PMA puma;
LPD leopard; JAG jaguar; LON lion; STHA striped hyena.
Competitive
killing
Predation
High
Low
Feral
Impact on humans
Dog development
index
Intraguild predation
WLF
PMA
LPD
BBJ
CTE
DGO
Neutral
Negative
LON
TGR JGR
SPHA
TGR
WLF
WLF
DGO
LPD
STHA
impact is North America, where pumas and
wolves prey on hunting or working dogs in rural
areas, or pet dogs in the suburban– wildlands inter-
face. Tigers occupy a similar zone when they kill
hunting and other dogs in rural Siberia. Wolves
also have a widespread impact across Europe due
to their broad range of ecological interactions with
dogs, ranging from competitive killing to preda-
tion. Dingoes in Australia and coyotes in North
America have a marginally less acute impact, of-
ten in the interface between suburban and rural
or protected areas. By comparison, predation on
dogs by lions, leopards, spotted and striped hy-
enas, and black-backed jackals in Africa is likely to
generate lesser human impact, largely due to the
low economic value of dogs relative to cattle and
other livestock. The same is probable for rural or
peri-urban areas of India and other parts of Asia
( Figure 5.6 ).
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13406-Gompper-Chap05.indd 134 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 135
analyze the potential impacts of dog predation on
the carnivores themselves. While all mammalian
carnivores considered in the intraguild typology
( Figure 5.5 ) must bene t to some extent from the re-
moval of potential competitors, levels of predation
on dogs appear to be so low and infrequent that
dogs are probably not a primary source of nutrition.
However, an exception may be leopards in rural
landscapes of India, where dogs clearly form a sig-
ni cant part of their diet, probably due to high dog
densities and the relative scarcity of natural prey.
Potential negative impacts can therefore be con-
sidered to outweigh these limited bene ts. The
rst route of impact is through direct retaliatory
killing by local people. This may occur legally, for
example the targeted poisoning of dingoes in Aus-
tralia under legislation, or illegally through the
indiscriminate hunting, snaring, or poisoning of
large carnivores, for example the killing of spotted
hyenas, leopards, and jackals in the Bale Mountains
of Ethiopia ( Atickem et al., 2010 ). Some carnivores
may be targeted speci cally for killing dogs (e.g.,
Amur tigers in Siberia; Goodrich et al., 2011 ), but in
many cases retaliation is a reaction to livestock pre-
dation more generally (e.g., in Kenya; Kolowski and
Holekamp, 2006 ), which in the case of the Maasai
in Tanzania is enshrined within traditional lion-
hunting ceremonies ( Kissui, 2008 ). In a more benign
form of retaliation, some ‘problem animals’ may
be captured and translocated (e.g., Amur tigers;
Goodrich, 2010 ; Goodrich and Miquelle, 2005 ), but
this is more feasible in economically developed con-
texts where wildlife management is well resourced.
Dog predation may also be such an emotive issue
that it becomes a powerful argument against large
carnivore conservation, particularly when there is
also a threat of attacks on humans, for example in
the case of wolf recovery programs in Finland ( Bisi
et al., 2007 ).
The second more indirect route is through the
transmission of pathogens. Predation or agonistic
interactions with dogs offer an ideal route of trans-
mission for canid pathogens, such as rabies and
canine distemper viruses, due to the opportunity
for close contact or consumption of infective tis-
sue ( Butler et al., 2004 ; Knobel et al., Chapter 6 ).
Dogs have been implicated as the reservoir hosts
underpinning a canine distemper epidemic in 1994,
It is also possible to infer the positions on the im-
pact gradient of these carnivores for other regions
where they occur. For example, wolves and tigers
in less economically developed regions of Asia
(e.g., rural India) are likely to have an intermediate
impact due to their predation on village dogs with
low DDIs. Also, it is possible that wolf and leopard
predation on feral dogs in Europe and Asia, respec-
tively, and the killing or competitive exclusion of
feral wild dogs by dingoes in Australia, may have
a minor positive impact on humans given the pest
status of these animals.
There is a third potentially important variable
that may intensify the degree of negative human
impact in any given context. Native habitat modi-
cation, and related to this the availability of natu-
ral prey, appears to drive an increased frequency
of dog predation. For example, wolves in Europe
are known to kill and consume more dogs when
natural food availability is low, as do leopards in
India. Related to this is the con ict that occurs along
urban interfaces with surrounding forest or modi-
ed habitats, for example for pumas and coyotes in
North America and dingoes in Australia. Seasonal
or climatic factors may also in uence the avail-
ability of natural prey where dogs and wild carni-
vores are sympatric. In Zimbabwe, dog predation
by leopards, lions, and spotted hyenas escalated
in the dry season in parallel with higher levels of
livestock predation, perhaps due to a lack of veg-
etative cover that aided hunting wild prey. Drought
also resulted in more extensive ranging by dogs
away from homesteads and into the neighboring
protected area, increasing their vulnerability to pre-
dation by wild carnivores. The availability of wild
prey linked to seasonal migrations also in uences
temporal variations in livestock killing by large car-
nivores in Kenya ( Kolowski and Holekamp, 2006 ),
although this was less evident in Tanzania ( Holm-
ern et al., 2007 ).
5.4 Implications for wild carnivore
conservation
5.4.1 Impacts on wild carnivores
To assess the implications of dog predation for wild
carnivores and their conservation, it is important to
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13506-Gompper-Chap05.indd 135 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
136 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
will have none. Hence, on a per capita basis, dogs
with a low DDI and feral dogs pose the greatest risk
of pathogen transmission to wild carnivores, but
this will be determined by dog densities and hence
contact rates with carnivores.
5.4.2 Potential human–carnivore confl ict
By combining the human impact gradient ( Figure
5.6 ) with these impacts on carnivores, it is possible
to develop a ‘heat map’ of potential con ict and the
nature of that con ict ( Figure 5.7 ). Based on the evi-
dence for species reviewed here, this suggests that
there may be three broad types of con ict ( Table 5.4 ).
The  rst and most intense is ‘Pet Predation,’ where
dogs of high DDI are taken as prey or through in-
traguild killing, and human retaliation results in
the killing or translocation of problem animals and
increased opposition to large carnivore conserva-
tion. However, the risk of pathogen transmission is
relatively low given the generally healthy status of
which caused widespread mortality of lions in the
Serengeti, Africa ( Roelke-Parker et al., 1996 ; Kock
et al., 1998 ), and also underpinning canine distem-
per and rabies epizootics amongst the highly en-
dangered African wild dog ( Cleaveland et al., 2000 ).
Spotted hyenas may play an important role as an
intermediate host facilitating the spillover of patho-
gens from dogs to other wild carnivores in African
ecosystems (Butler et al., 2004; Harrison et al., 2004 ).
Similarly, Amur tigers are known to have been ex-
posed to canine distemper virus, probably due to
close contact with dogs ( Goodrich et al., 2012 ; Quig-
ley et al., 2010 ). However, the risk of mortality for
carnivores preying upon dogs will vary according
to the susceptibility of the species, and the health
status of the dog population concerned. In gen-
eral it can be assumed from our typology of dog–
human relationships ( Table 5.3 ) that dogs with a
high DDI are likely to have higher levels of invest-
ment in their health and vaccination than ‘village’
dogs in contexts with lower HDIs, and feral dogs
Impac t on wild carniv ores
Impac t on humans
NegativeNeutral
Neutral Negativ e
PMA
LPD LON
TGR
SPHA
WLF
CTE DGO
BBJ
WLF
WLF
TGR
LPD DGO
Pet Predation
Village Dog
Predation
Feral Pred ation
JAG
STHA
Figure 5.7 A ‘heat map’ of potential human–wild carnivore confl ict as a result of predation on dogs by wild mammalian carnivores. The darker
shading indicates greater potential for confl ict. Based on the data reviewed, three types are identifi ed: Pet Predation, Village Dog Predation, and
Feral Predation. Abbreviations are: BBJ black-backed jackal; DGO dingo; CTE coyote; WLF grey wolf; SPHA spotted hyena; TGR tiger; PMA puma;
LPD leopard; JAG jaguar; LON lion; STHA striped hyena.
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13606-Gompper-Chap05.indd 136 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF PREDATION ON DOGS 137
Table 5.4 Features of the three types of human–wild carnivore confl ict generated by predation on dogs ( see Figure 5.7 ).
Predation type Impact on humans Impact on wild carnivores Example and region
Pet Loss or injury to few valuable pets and
working dogs; high impacts on wellbeing
and livelihoods; intensifi ed by risk of
carnivore attack on people and pets in
peri-urban and modifi ed landscapes.
Targeted retaliation, lethal and non-
lethal, legal and illegal; decreased
support for wild carnivore conservation;
some pathogen transmission risk from
dogs with lower dog development index.
Amur tiger: Asia (Siberia)
Gray wolf: North America
Dingo: Australia
Puma: North America
Coyote: North America
Village Dog Dogs of low value relative to other
livestock; largely in rural areas and on
protected area boundaries.
Indiscriminate illegal retaliation
against all large carnivores driven by
livestock predation; high risk of patho
gen transmission from all dogs.
Lion, leopard, spotted hyena: Africa
Leopard, tiger, gray wolf: Asia
Striped hyena: Africa and Asia
Feral Dogs of no value or pest status; predation
or competitive exclusion provides neutral
or positive impact; limited by low dog
densities.
No retaliation; high risk of pathogen
transmission, mitigated by low densities
of feral dogs.
Dingo: Australia
Leopard: Asia (India)
Gray wolf: Europe and Asia
dogs, although this will be dependent on the densi-
ties of dogs with poorer health status. The most ex-
treme example of this is for Amur tigers in Siberia,
where hunting dogs are preyed upon regularly and
represent a large proportion of livestock kills, result-
ing in targeted retaliatory killing by local communi-
ties and some disease risk from canine distemper.
Slightly less intense are situations involving wolves
in Europe and North America and dingoes in Aus-
tralia, which may kill dogs but with less frequency
than do Amur tigers. Con ict is also generated by
unease amongst communities about the risk of pre-
dation on people, combined with their impacts on
other livestock, resulting in targeted killing. Puma
and coyote predation may have similar human im-
pacts to those of tigers, dingoes, and wolves, but
threats of retaliation may be less.
By comparison ‘Village Dog Predation’ may re-
sult in similar levels of carnivore impact, but a
lesser degree of human impact due to the gener-
ally lower value of dogs, which mitigates the loss of
animals. In this type, the per capita risk of pathogen
transmission is high, and human retaliation often
stems from the cumulative impact of livestock pre-
dation, rather than on dogs speci cally, and tends
to be indiscriminate resulting in a more diffuse im-
pact. Examples include interactions between com-
munities and their dogs with lions, spotted and
striped hyenas and jackals in Africa, and leopards
and striped hyenas in Asia. ‘Feral Predation’ occurs
where feral dogs of minimal value or pest status
are taken as prey or through intraguild killing, and
there are neutral or even positive human impacts.
Given the limited abundance of feral dogs relative
to dogs of higher DDI, the potential for con ict is
much reduced ( Table 5.4 ).
Clearly this model is highly generalized, and
limited by the paucity of data and case studies of
interactions between wild carnivores and dogs.
Furthermore, the response of local communities to
wild carnivore predation on livestock is likely to
vary even between individuals depending on their
education, age, and ethnicity (e.g., Marchini and
Macdonald, 2012 ; Thorn et al., 2012 ). In addition, lo-
cal responses will be countered or modi ed by the
wider institutional and stakeholder setting, result-
ing in different outcomes for the same wild carni-
vore in different locations within its geographical
distribution. The speci c conservation status of the
carnivore concerned will also in uence this context.
There may also be other locally-speci c issues that
will in uence the nature of the con ict, such as the
presence of wolves that specialize in attacking dogs
(e.g., Kojola et al., 2004 ), or reintroduction or recov-
ery programs that instigate wider social con ict
(e.g., Skogen et al., 2006 ).
5.5 Conclusions
Due to the unique relationship between dogs and
humans, the study of dog predation requires analy-
sis of both ecological and social dimensions. Our
06-Gompper-Chap05.indd 13706-Gompper-Chap05.indd 137 14/09/13 9:56 AM14/09/13 9:56 AM
138 FREE-RANGING DOGS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
households in particular, and exacerbated by the
contraction of carnivore habitat and related avail-
ability of wild prey. Our review provides a hy-
pothetical framework that can project the likely
characteristics of such future con ict. However,
it requires further development, testing, and im-
provement through more targeted research into the
social-ecological systems and typologies presented
here.
Acknowledgments
We thank the 55 wildlife researchers and managers
surveyed who provided much of the anecdotal and
unpublished material presented in this review. Two
anonymous reviewers also provided useful com-
ments that improved earlier drafts.
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... Dog predation by wildlife is one of the least studied interactions with wolves, the most common predator [1]. Wolves killing dogs is not a new phenomenon. ...
... Predation on dogs may involve only a small proportion of wolf packs in a population [19], with specific packs specialized in dog killing [7]. Dog availability in a wolf habitat constitutes an important factor shaping wolf-dog interactions [1]. ...
... Human tolerance of dog depredations is strongly related to the type of dogs killed, with feral dog killing not triggering negative reaction, or even considered as an ecological service provided by wolves, as free-ranging dogs, when numerous, cause considerable damage to wildlife, or transmit diseases [20]. However, when dogs killed are pet or hunting dogs, a strong negative reaction and emotions are initiated against wolves [1]. ...
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Hunting dog depredation by wolves triggers retaliatory killing, with negative impacts on wildlife conservation. In the wider area of the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park, reports on such incidents have increased lately. To investigate this conflict, we interviewed 56 affected hunters, conducted wolf trophic analysis, analyzed trends for 2010–2020, applied MAXENT models for risk-map creation, and GLMs to explore factors related to depredation levels. Losses averaged approximately one dog per decade and hunter showing a positive trend, while livestock depredations showed a negative trend. Wolves preyed mainly on wild prey, with dogs consisting of 5.1% of the winter diet. Low altitude areas, with low to medium livestock availability favoring wolf prey and game species, were the riskiest. Dogs were more vulnerable during hare hunting and attacks more frequent during wolf post-weaning season or in wolf territories with reproduction. Hunter experience and group hunting reduced losses. Wolves avoided larger breeds or older dogs. Making noise or closely keeping dogs reduced attack severity. Protective dog vests, risk maps, and enhancing wolf natural prey availability are further measures to be considered, along with a proper verification system to confirm and effectively separate wolf attacks from wild boar attacks, which were also common.
... However, the use of dogs for hunting is not without risks, as dogs may be injured or killed during hunt by either the game species they pursue or by carnivores they encounter coincidentally. Butler et al. (2013), Sidorovich et al. (2003), and Kojola and Kuittinen (2002) have observed that most dogs killed by wolves are pursuit dogs used for recreational hunting (47-87%, 47%, and 54%, respectively). This is also the case of the present study, in which 64% of cases of the 103 hunting dogs reported attacked by wolves occurred during drive hunts on wild boar. ...
... According to Fritts and Paul (1989) and Kojola et al. (2004), some wolves are actively seeking dogs as a source of food. Especially in areas with limited availability of natural (wild) prey or during periods of low prey density, it is not rare that dogs represent a prey base (Sidorovich et al. 2003, Butler et al. 2013, and some packs start opportunistically hunting dogs, as observed by Kojola et al. (2004) and Wydeven et al. (2003). This is in line with the results of our study, where most of the attacks were concentrated in areas, where wild prey is scarce, and livestock represents 85% of the total wolf's diet (Octenjak et al. 2020). ...
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Grey wolf (Canis lupus) populations are expanding across Europe, which leads to increase in their interactions with people and domestic animals, including dogs. Attacks on hunting dogs are becoming a major cause for conflicts between wolves and hunters in many countries, including Croatia, where this conflict has increased dramatically in recent years. To better understand the conflict and possible causes behind the attacks we conducted a survey among Croatian hunters to investigate the trends and characteristics of the attacks. A total of 103 hunting dogs were reported as attacked by wolves in 2010-2018 with significantly increasing trend. The attacks were fatal for 86% of the attacked dogs and among the dogs killed, 96% were at least partly consumed by the wolves. The most frequently attacked dogs were about three years old (47%), males (82%), weighing 10-20 kg (62%) and belonged to scent hounds and related breeds. In respect to the breed, dogs were not attacked randomly, but we observed significant selection for Tricolor Hound, while Balkan Hound, the Istrian Hound and the Posavina Hound were avoided according to availability. Majority (64%) of dogs were killed during drive hunts on wild boar and highest frequency of attacks was recorded in the Split–Dalmatia County. More dogs were attacked in counties with more livestock and fewer wild prey, but correlations were not significant. Results suggest that wolves likely perceived dogs as potential prey and indicate some of the potential measures that could be used to mitigate the conflict.
... Domestic animals such as cattle, sheep or goats are easier to prey upon due to their lack of anti-predatory behavior (Diamond 2002). Predation or attacks by jaguars on other domestic species such as dogs have been recorded anecdotally in some countries of Central and South America (Soto-Shoender and Giuliano 2011;Amador-Alcalá et al. 2013;Butler et al. 2014;Fiorello et al. 2017;Jędrzejewski et al. 2017;Hoogesteijn et al. 2020). Only Foster et al (2010) found traces of dogs in jaguar scats from Belize. ...
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Invasion of humans and dogs into the jaguars’ habitat opens the way for future negative events. Dog predation by jaguars has only been recorded anecdotally, despite the high risk of pathogen transmis- sion and the potential conflict due to pet predation. In this study, we document jaguar attacks on dogs in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a tourist town in the Mexican Caribbean. In addition, we describe an initiative designed to prevent jaguar persecution by constructing night houses for dogs at the most recent attack sites. A total of 20 attacks were recorded in the last nine years, most of them fatal (60%) on medium-sized dogs (70%), at night (95%) and during the dry season (65%). Half of the attacks occurred in the north of Mahahual ́s coastline and the other half in the south. Attacks in the south were concentrated between 0 to 10 km away from the village, while in the north they were dispersed over distances between 0 and > 30 km. Thirty-eight night houses were constructed covering almost 45 km of the 135 km of Mahahual’s coastline. Further research is required to understand the importance of dogs in the jaguar diet and the impact of dog predation on the health and disease ecol- ogy of jaguar populations.
... Companion animals, particularly dogs, have strong geographies, but they are also involved in other areas, including as laboratory subjects, where they have been successful models for multiple human processes [10,11]. Companion animals may also negatively impact human health and wildlife conservation, for example amongst free-ranging dog populations (e.g., [12][13][14][15]). Resolution of such conflicts, whilst maintaining ethical and culturally appropriate management methods, requires stakeholder values and goals to be addressed via equitable participation, collaborative decision-making, problem identification and resolution [16,17]. ...
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Companion animal management in Australian remote Aboriginal communities (rAcs) is a complex problem with multiple stakeholders involved, with differing needs, knowledge, power and resources. The Comm4Unity (Cycle of Multiple Methods for Unity—For Community) approach was designed to address such problems. This study represents the second step of the Comm4Unity framework, where a causal loop analysis (CLA) was adapted and tested as a tool to address the issue of dog overpopulation in Wurrumiyanga, and in particular the systemic causes of the problem and necessary transformational management solutions. Ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were held amongst three of the four stakeholder groups identified during the first step in the analysis. The CLA identified 13 positive feedback loops, which drive vicious cycles and perpetuate the dog overpopulation issue. All three groups agreed and developed 22 solutions to address the causes of dog overpopulation. Despite the differences in the framings of the three groups, “training” and “education” were both the top priority solutions for all three groups. The majority of the solutions discussed by the groups were not only transformational but also social, requiring collaboration. This study was successful in so far as transformational actions were co-developed by all FGDs, which may have also built capacity and agency amongst the local community to implement them as a cohesive group.
... It was lesser when compared to the rate at which they took dogs in more urbanized landscapes (Edgaonkar and Chellam, 2002;Athreya et al., 2016). The dogs lost to leopard predation were ironically mostly livestock herding/guarding dogs of agro-pastoral communities, a pattern consistent with other studies (Butler et al., 2013;Khorozyan et al., 2017). Every household kept at least one or two domestic livestock guarding dogs, which roamed freely when sheep or goats grazed in RFs and FAs. ...
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Large scale spatial patterns of livestock predation risk from multiple co-predators are fundamental to applied conservation planning. Here, we examined important ecological, social, and landscape attributes explaining spatial patterns of human-carnivore interactions. We used a systematic grid-based framework, across an area of 14,200 km2 of sixteen Forest Divisions at the human-wildlife interface encompassing Protected Areas, Reserved Forest and Fringe Areas at the human-wildlife interface in the Eastern and Western Ghats, India. The data was collected on livestock depredation incidents from the tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), and dhole (Cuon alpinus) for the past five years, through semi-structured interviews (n = 1460) of local communities. We examined socio-ecological (i.e. livestock abundance and forest dependency) and landscape attributes (i.e. forest cover, climates and topographic) influencing the depredation events from each carnivore species. We found that livestock predation risk by the tiger, leopard and dhole was driven by the size of livestock species, the dependency of local people on the forest, topography, proximity to water body and the forest boundary, precipitation, and forest cover. Risk of predation from leopard and dhole exhibited high spatial overlap, and predation by leopards was higher than dhole and tiger. Livestock predation by leopard and dhole was frequent in open areas of Reserved Forest and buffer zones, while that from tiger occurred in densely forested core regions of Protected Areas (PAs). Our predictive risk maps (ca. 22,525 km2) showed species-specific predation patterns, reflected ecological differences among large carnivores with regards to their habitat and spatial partitioning for domestic prey. Our predictive predation risk map and factors associated with livestock predations provides powerful visual guidance and tools for PA managers in developing multi-species conflict mitigation strategies. We recommend diversifying local economic livelihoods and benefit-sharing options for local communities to minimize their forest dependency.
... There is little evidence that wolves actively seek dogs, and the attacks appear to be more opportunistic in nature (Paquet 1991); however, it is possible to predict the probability of an attack based on non-wolf-related factors such as landscape and the severity of the previous year winter and wolf-dependent factors such as pack size (Edge et al. 2011;Olson et al. 2014). More research is needed because attacks are still not well documented in the scientific literature (Butler et al. 2015). ...
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The threat that wolves ( Canis lupus ) pose to hunting dogs is one reason why Finnish hunters have negative attitudes towards wolves and one of the potential motivations for the illegal killing of wolves. During 2010–2017, wolves killed an average of 38 dogs (range 24–50) per year in Finland. Most of the attacks (91%) were directed at hunting dogs during the hunting season. To decrease the risk of attacks, the last seven positions (one position per hour) of GPS-collared wolves were accessible to the public with a 5 × 5 km resolution during the hunting seasons (from August 20 th to February 28 th ) of 2013/2014 (from September 2 nd onwards), 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. The link was visited more than 1 million times in 3 of the 4 seasons. Fatal attacks on dogs occurred on 17% of the days during the hunting seasons of our study (n = 760 days). Both the attacks and visits peaked in September–November, which is the primary hunting season in Finland. According to the general linear model, the number of daily visits to the website was higher on days when fatal attacks occurred than on other days. Additionally, season and the number of days passed from the first day of the season were significantly related to the daily visits. Visits were temporally auto-correlated, and the parameter values in the model where the dependent variable was the number of visits on the next day were only slightly different from those in the first model. A two-way interaction between season and attack existed, and the least squares means were significantly different in 2017/2018. The change in daily visits between consecutive days was related only to the number of days from the beginning of the season. We examined whether this kind of service decreased dog attacks by wolves. Wolf attacks were recorded in 32% of the wolf territories, where at least one wolf had been collared (n = 22). However, within the territories without any GPS-collared wolves, the proportion of territories with wolf attack(s) was significantly higher than those elsewhere (50%, n = 48). Although public information decreased the risk of attacks, it did not completely protect dogs from wolf attacks and may in some cases increase the risk of illegally killing wolves. The most remarkable benefit of this kind of service to the conservation of the wolf population might be the message to the public that management is not overlooking hunters’ concerns about wolf attacks on their dogs.
... Contrary to the significant increase in the frequency of occurrence of large domestic ungulates and the decrease in feedlot species (only significant for chickens), we observed a significant decrease in the importance of goats and dogs in the diet over time (Fig. 2). Wolves not only prey on dogs (Butler et al. 2013), but they also scavenge on their carcasses (Cuesta et al. 1991). No information is available on the number of dogs (both feral and pets) in this area. ...
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Policies have the potential to affect human–wildlife coexistence. However, despite consequences being evident beforehand or emerging soon after their implementation, potential conflicts between policies and biodiversity conservation are not always easy to predict. Wolves feeding on anthropogenic food sources (AFS) usually fall into conflict with humans, mainly due to predation on livestock. But the availability of AFS can be influenced by different policies leading to diet shifts, which could trigger new conflicts or exacerbate existing ones. Here, we show a long-term shift in the diet of wolves in northwestern Iberia over the last three decades and discuss its potential connection to changes in sanitary, environmental, and socioeconomic policies. Wolves persisted for a long time due to the activity of humans with AFS accounting for >94 % of their diet. Our results suggest a connection between a diet shift in wolves and changes in policies, from a broad diet including more feedlot (pigs, chickens) and medium-sized (goats and dogs) species, mainly in the form of carrion, to a more narrow diet based primarily on large domestic ungulates (cattle and horses). We discuss the potential implications of the observed shift in the diet of wolves on human–wolf conflicts. We also call attention on the pressing need to integrate policies into biodiversity conservation to anticipate future conservation and management dilemmas.
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Se hace un abordaje teórico desde la etnografía interespecie, la que se complementa con la noción de especies fenomenológicas. Las relaciones interespecie se ilustran con el caso de cómo el dingo ha llegado a constituirse en una especie particular, pero que requiere de la interacción con otras. Dado que hay una amplia discusión acerca de si el dingo es un animal salvaje o doméstico (y si deviene de perros ferales), en la primera sección se expone, someramente, qué se entiende por domesticidad y feralidad en los perros. En la segunda se tratan aspectos generales del dingo, mientras que en la tercera se enfatiza en los vínculos entre humanos y dingos en clave cultural. En el cuarto y último apartado se plantean las consideraciones finales, en donde se extrapola lo sostenido acerca de la relación dingo-humano a un espectro más amplio y se puntualiza que devenir dingo implica, asimismo, devenir humano.
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Aunque la coexistencia entre lobos y humanos es posible y deseable, especialmente en áreas protegidas como el Parque Nacional de Sila, a menudo es una fuente de tensión. El debate sobre la convivencia y los conflictos entre humanos y lobos sigue siendo abierto y controvertido, lo que sugiere la importancia de tener en cuenta las “percepciones” de todas las partes interesadas. Este estudio analiza las percepciones de 3 grupos de partes interesadas (público general, expertos, criadores) en relación con varios factores, e investiga qué intervenciones pueden mitigar los conflictos relacionados con la coexistencia. Entre los resultados, notamos que la mayoría de los encuestados considera positiva la presencia del lobo en el área del Parque; pero solo los expertos consideran positiva esta presencia en el territorio en general, mientras que los otros dos grupos expresan opinión contraria o neutra.
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The rich history and global abundance of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) present a unique opportunity and an ideal model for interdisciplinary research. Canine evolutionary history demonstrates unprecedented changes across all levels of biological organization. These include diversification from highly social, pack-dwelling wild carnivores (extant gray wolves, C. lupus), to increased dependence on humans (domestication), to modern in-home colonization featuring close physical proximity to humans (interspecies bonding). The young, emerging field of “canine science” comprises diverse biological disciplines including evolution, genetics, cognition, behavior, physiology, comparative medicine, and ecology, drawing on studies of both natural and experimental systems and scaling across all levels of biological organization, from genomes to ecosystems. However, limited connections bridge the various fields associated with canine science, although in every branch it is recognized that this species is one of the most phenotypically variable mammals. Yet there has been growing interest in integrating the insights from genomic evolution with those from ecophysiology and ecology, thus facilitating a more biologically comprehensive perspective of dogs. In particular, integrative, mechanistic, and/or ecological studies have been generally underrepresented. To address these emerging interests, we have collected the most compelling questions in the field of canine biology and present avenues of current and future research. This paper serves to both orient the reader to this special issue, as well as offer a forward-looking perspective from diverse biological sub-disciplines to highlight current and future goals in canine research.
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Wolf Canis lupus relationships with wild ungulates, domestic animals and humans were studied in an area of ca 800 km(2) at the head of the Lovat River in northeastern Belarus during 1990-2000. The region was dominated by natural habitats (78%) consisting mainly of forests and bogs, but also lakes and rivers. The abundance of wild ungulates, such as moose Alces alces, wild boar Sus scrofa, and roe deer Capreolus capreolus, as censused by snow tracking and assessed by game wardens, declined 5 to 6-fold between 1990 and 1996, most probably due to uncontrolled exploitation and poaching. During 1997-2000, the numbers of ungulates began to recover. Wolves responded to the shortage of wild ungulates by a strong shift in feeding habits. When wild ungulates were numerous, wolf diet as studied by scat analysis was composed of wild ungulates (80-88% of consumed biomass), with small additions of medium- and small-sized wild animals (7-13%), mainly beaver Castor fiber and hare Lepus sp., and domestic animals (4-6%), mainly cattle. In the years when the recorded numbers of wild ungulates were at their lowest, wolves preyed on domestic animals (38% of biomass consumed), wild ungulates (32%), and medium- and small-sized wild prey (29%). Wolf damage to domestic animals (28 head of cattle and 247 dogs killed) and wolf-human interaction (100 observations of wolves in and near villages, including one attack by a rabid wolf on I I people) were recorded in 14 villages. The rate of wolf predation on domestic animals and their appearances in villages increased exponentially with the declining biomass of wild ungulates and ceased again when wild ungulates began to recover; a one-year time lag in wolf response to changes in ungulate abundance was observed. The numbers of wolves as estimated by snow tracking and assessed by game wardens played a weaker role in shaping wolf-livestock and wolf-human interaction. The wolf population was strongly affected by hunting during the study. Wolves responded numerically with a 1 to 2-year time lag to the varying intensity of harvest by humans. Our study showed the role of the human factor in shaping wolf numbers and wolf-livestock interaction in eastern Europe. The three major components of this relationship were: 1) the manifold decline in wild ungulate abundance, which was most probably caused by uncontrolled exploitation by humans in the years of political transformation and economic regress, made wolves shift to predation on domestic animals; inevitably, wolves were frequently seen in the rural areas; 2) people interpreted the growing rates of wolf damage and appearances near the settlements as an effect of greatly increasing numbers of wolves, and demanded that authorities and hunters fight the 'wolf plague'; 3) hunting impact on wolves increased and led to a marked reduction in wolf numbers and a decline in wolf-human conflicts. This scenario was most probably repeated in many areas of eastern Europe during 19902000, which was a decade of political and economical transformation. From a management perspective, we suggested that predation levels and wolf-human conflicts could be reduced not only by increased wolf harvest but also by enhancing the density and diversity of wild ungulates.
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Australia has two introduced canid species — European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and wild dogs (which include dingoes, Canis lupus dingo, feral domestic dogs C. l. familiaris and their hybrids). Foxes were introduced into mainland Australia in the 1860s and quickly spread (Rolls, 1984; Jarman 1986). This dispersal and establishment is believed linked with the introduction and spread of European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cunniculus) (Saunders et al., 1995). Except in Tasmania, where previous introductions appear to have been unsuccessful, and in northern Australia, where the climate is unsuitable and rabbits are essentially absent, foxes have become established throughout in virtually all habitats including urban and residential environments (Saunders et al., 1995). Within decades of their introduction, legislation was enacted proclaiming them as pests to agriculture, and more recently, as a key threatening process to endangered small mammals (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, 2001). This status has been enshrined in subsequent legislation and strengthened by virtue of foxes being an introduced pest species rather than a native animal. Dingoes are thought to have arrived in Australia from Southeast Asia about 5000 years before present (Corbett, 1995a). A number of reports have reviewed the origins, ecological significance of dingos, and their morphological and genetic relationship to domestic dogs. Interested readers are referred to Newsome et al. (1980) as one example. Like foxes they are also found in virtually every habitat across the Australian continent and are absent from Tasmania (Fleming et al., 2001). However, because of their longer association with Australia, they are often regarded as a “native” species (Davis, 2001). Wild domestic dogs have been present since the first European settlement in 1788 (Fleming et al., 2001) and hybridization with dingoes has been occurring ever since (Corbett, 1995a, 2001). Despite the native status of dingoes, all wild dogs and foxes are regarded and managed as pests on agricultural lands, i.e. outside of conservation areas. Pure dingoes alone are afforded legislative protection in areas set aside for conservation (Fleming et al., 2001; Davis and Leys, 2001) yet feral dogs and hybrids effectively enjoy the same legislative protection in conservation areas as dingoes, because they cannot be managed separately.
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The Human Development Report 2007/2008 about climate change and development made bold arguments concerning human rights and justice for the poor and for disadvantaged populations. However, its policy proposals were not as bold, looking very similar to those of the World Bank's World Development Report 2010. In this article we investigate in which direction the thinking on environment and sustainability by UNDP's Human Development Report Office has evolved since the HDR 2007/2008. A detailed frameand lexical analysis of the HDR 2011 on Sustainability and Equity shows a markedly technocratic direction, largely apolitical and insensitive to human rights issues and justice, giving a diluted successor to the HDR 2007/2008 and now close in perspective to the World Bank. This direction, as well as the little attention to the socio-economic and political barriers to sustainability and to climate change impacts we find in the HDR 2011, has consequences for the poorest sectors of South Africa's society.