Paschoal, A. M. O., Massara, R. L., Santos, J. L., & Chiarello, A. G. (2012). Is the domestic dog becoming an abundant species in the Atlantic forest? A study case in southeastern Brazil. Mammalia, 76(1), 67-76.
The Brazilian Atlantic forest has been reduced to a small fraction of its original area, with most remaining fragments being small and surrounded by anthropogenic matrices. This degree of disturbance, together with the increasing sprawl of cities towards the rural zone, greatly facilitates the entrance of domestic animals into these remnants. We used camera traps to compare the abundances of the domestic dog with a similarly sized native carnivore, the ocelot, in a 957-ha reserve of the Brazilian Atlantic forest in a landscape largely composed by pastures and agriculture. The dog was the most recorded species among all 17 mammal species “captured” by the cameras. Dog abundance (32–38 dogs) and density (0.812–1.813 dogs/km2) were significantly higher than that of the ocelot (n=2 ocelots; density=0.158–0.347 ocelots/km2). Although our result is restricted to a single study site, it is supported by an increasing number of recent studies, which have detected dogs inside other Atlantic forest reserves. Our study suggests, therefore, that this invasion might be more widespread than generally thought. The presence of the domestic dog is a threat to native fauna and constitutes an important edge effect of human presence at the rural zone.