Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Disturbance from dogs or from people?

Reed, S. & A.D. Merenlender. 2011. Effects of Management of Domestic Dogs and Recreation on Carnivores in Protected Areas in Northern California. Conservation Biology, 25(3):504-513

In developed countries dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are permitted to accompany human visitors to many protected areas (e.g., >96% of protected lands in California, U.S.A.), and protected-area management often focuses on regulating dogs due to concerns about predation, competition, or transmission of disease and conflicts with human visitors. In 2004 and 2005, we investigated whether carnivore species richness and abundance were associated with management of domestic dogs and recreational visitation in protected areas in northern California. We surveyed for mammalian carnivores and human visitors in 21 recreation areas in which dogs were allowed offleash or onleash or were excluded, and we compared our observations in the recreation areas with observations in seven reference sites that were not open to the public. Carnivore abundance and species richness did not differ among the three types of recreation areas, but native carnivore species richness was 1.7 times greater (p < 0.01) and the relative abundances of native coyotes (Canis latrans) and bobcats ( Lynx rufus) were over four times greater (p < 0.01) in the reference sites. Abundances of bobcats and all carnivores declined as the number of visitors increased. The policy on domestic dogs did not appear to affect species richness and abundance of mammalian carnivores. But the number of dogs we observed was strongly associated with human visitation (R2= 0.54), so the key factors associated with recreational effects on carnivores appear to be the presence and number of human visitors to protected areas.

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