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

Friday, 5 July 2013

Effect of guard dogs on gazelles

Gingold, G., Yom‐Tov, Y., Kronfeld‐Schor, N., & Geffen, E. (2009). Effect of guard dogs on the behavior and reproduction of gazelles in cattle enclosures on the Golan Heights. Animal Conservation, 12(2), 155-162.

Cattle on the Golan Heights are kept in enclosures and some of these enclosures have guard dogs. We studied the effect of such dogs on the behavior and breeding success of mountain gazelles Gazella gazella living within enclosures. We found that guard dogs have both direct and indirect effects on gazelles. Gazelles living in enclosures with dogs spent more time in vigilance behavior and running, and less time resting and walking, in comparison with gazelles in dog-free enclosures. In the absence of dogs, gazelle female herds in enclosures tended to stay closer to the cattle, but shunned away from them in the presence of the dogs, which, in turn, remained near the cattle. The percentage of fawns per female was higher in enclosures without dogs in comparison with those with dogs, but the difference was not significant. However, the largest of the enclosures with dogs, which had the largest number of gazelles, had only an average number of dogs in it. Hence, the gazelles in this enclosure were better able to avoid the dogs in comparison with those in smaller enclosures. Removing this enclosure from the overall calculation revealed that guard dogs have a significant negative effect on gazelle reproductive success. In two of the four enclosures with dogs no fawn still survived 6 months after birth, while in each of the four enclosures without dogs some fawns did survive to that age and beyond, suggesting that the dogs themselves may predate the fawns.

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