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

Monday, 15 July 2013

Behavioural interactions between dogs and wild canids

Vanak, A. T., Thaker, M., & Gompper, M. E. (2009). Experimental examination of behavioural interactions between free-ranging wild and domestic canids.Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64(2), 279-287.

The structure of mammalian carnivore communities is strongly influenced by both intraguild competition and predation. However, intraguild interactions involving the world’s most common carnivore, the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), have rarely been investigated. We experimentally examined the behavioural responses of a small canid, the Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis), to the presence of dogs and dog odours. Resource competition between dogs and Indian foxes is low, so it is unclear whether foxes perceive dogs as interference competitors. To test this, we exposed foxes to neutral, live dog, and animal odour stimuli at food trays, and recorded the time spent at food trays, the amount of food eaten, and vigilance and non-vigilance behaviours. When dogs were visible, foxes continued to visit the food trays, but reduced the amount of time spent and food eaten at those trays. Foxes were more vigilant during dog trials than during neutral and odour trials and also exhibited lower levels of non-vigilance behaviour (resting and playing). In contrast, dog odours did not affect fox foraging and activity. These results show that vigilance/foraging trade-offs due to interference competition can occur between native and domestic carnivores despite low dietary overlap. These negative effects of dogs on a smaller member of the carnivore guild raise conservation concerns, especially for endangered carnivores. In many parts of the world, free-ranging dog densities are high due to human subsidies, and these subsidized predators have the potential to exacerbate the indirect effects of human presence.

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