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

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Perception of threatened species management on urban beaches

Maguire, G. S., Rimmer, J. M., & Weston, M. A. (2013). Stakeholder Perceptions of Threatened Species and Their Management on Urban Beaches.Animals, 3(4), 1002-1020.

Simple Summary: Coastal urbanisation brings humans into contact with beach-dwelling wildlife. Where wildlife are disturbance prone, active management is required to promote coexistence between beach-goers and endangered wildlife. Coexistence relies on people adopting wildlife-sensitive behaviours. This study examines factors, which influence people’s awareness and perceptions of threatened species management in southern Australia, using Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis management as a model. The inconvenience experienced by beach goers in regard to plover management was low. Awareness and support for plover conservation were high. Frequency of beach use, whether a person was a dog walker, and awareness of the species and its plight, influenced perceptions.

Abstract: We surveyed 579 recreationists regarding management of the threatened, beach-dwelling Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis. We postulated that: (1) lower awareness of the species and higher ‘inconvenience’ of management would engender less favourable perceptions of conservation and management; and (2) that frequency of beach use and dog ownership may mediate perceptions and levels of awareness and inconvenience. Overall, inconvenience was low while awareness and support for plover conservation were high.
Education and awareness strategies were considered less effective than regulations; exclusion and regulations were considered less desirable than on-ground protective measures. Awareness, frequency of beach use and dog walking did not influence the perceived effectiveness of different managements. More frequent beach users had greater awareness of the species and their plight but reported greater inconvenience associated with management. Respondents with high awareness rated the severity of human-related threats higher; low awareness was associated with more inconvenience associated with on-ground protection, and exclusion and regulations. Dog walkers reported more inconvenience associated with exclusions and regulations than non-dog walkers. Dog walkers who used the beach infrequently rated threats significantly higher than frequent beach users. Conservation and education strategies could usefully be tailored to beach users’ level of use and pet ownership.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Impacts of feral and free-ranging cats on bird species of conservation concern

Winter, L., & Wallace, G. E. (2006). Impacts of feral and free-ranging cats on bird species of conservation concern. Other Publications in Wildlife Management, 28. University of Nebraska.

This report reviews cat predation impacts on rare birds in the states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, and Hawaii, reviews government-authorized programs and ordinances affecting feral and freeranging cats and their management, and makes recommendations on better ways to manage cat overpopulation problems.


Conservation groups and individuals have an important role to play in helping to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and in generating support for predator management projects. Here are some tips that can help protect birds from free-roaming cats in your community.
• Keep your own cats indoors, and walk it outside on a harness and leash, or in an outdoor enclosure. Encourage others to keep their cats indoors.
• Spay or neuter your cat at an early age before it can reproduce.
• Do not feed stray cats and never abandon a cat you can no longer care for. Instead, find a good home for your cat or take it to an animal shelter or humane society. For a shelter nearest you, see the National Shelter Directory at http://www. aspca.org.
• Work for passage of local cat ordinances that prohibit cats from roaming off their owner’s property.
• Conduct a Cats Indoors! campaign in your community. For free downloadable materials and more information, see http://www.abcbirds.org/cats.
• Support efforts of public land managers to humanely trap and remove cats from habitat managed for wildlife.
• Conduct a media campaign in your community using print and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) found at http://www.abcbirds.org/cats.
• Sponsor a children’s poster competition for National Keep Your Cat Indoors Day, held on the second Saturday in May. For more information see http://www.abcbirds.org/cats/NKYCID.htm.
• Print an article or PSA in your organization’s newsletter.
• Ask your state wildlife agency to print an article in their magazine and/or produce a Web page on the issue for their Web site.
• Ask your state wildlife agency to adopt the Cats Indoors! campaign and distribute brochures and other materials to the public through their visitor centers, educational programs, and displays.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Evaluation of euthanasia and TNR programs in managing free-roaming cat

Schmidt, P. M., Swannack, T. M., Lopez, R. R., & Slater, M. R. (2009). Evaluation of euthanasia and trap–neuter–return (TNR) programs in managing free-roaming cat populations. Wildlife Research, 36(2), 117-125.

In 1995, a county animal control service implemented a feral cat sterilization program with the goal of reducing the number of healthy cats euthanized, complaints, and the county's costs. The service collected data from a 6-year period both before and after the program's implementation. The service totaled the numbers of both cat and dog impoundments, surgeries, adoptions, euthanasias, and complaints for each year; standardized both sets of numbers on a per- 10,000-person basis to compare trends between dogs and cats; and calculated estimated costs for neutering versus impounding and euthanizing the feral cats. Changing from a policy of euthanasia of feral cats to support for trap-neuter-return did not result in an increase in the number of complaints or cat impoundments. The percentage of impounded cats euthanized decreased between the periods before and after the program began, and the percentage adopted increased. The ratio of complaints to impounds decreased between the 2 periods, and the ratio of surgeries to impounds increased. Impoundments of cats were relatively steady in spite of the continually increasing human population. Euthanasias decreased for both cats and dogs since 1997. Since 1996, complaints decreased for both. Surgeries for both cats and dogs increased over the 12 years. Adoptions for cats and dogs increased greatly in fiscal year 1998/1999.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Review of feral cat control

Robertson, S. A. (2008). A review of feral cat control. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 10(4), 366-375.

Animal overpopulation including feral cats is an important global problem. There are many stakeholders involved in the feral cat debate over ‘what to do about the problem’, including those who consider them a nuisance, the public at risk from zoonotic disease, people who are concerned about the welfare of feral cats, those concerned with wildlife impacts, and the cats themselves. How best to control this population is controversial and has ranged from culling, relocation, and more recently ‘trap neuter return’ (TNR) methods. Data support the success of TNR in reducing cat populations, but to have a large impact it will have to be adopted on a far greater scale than it is currently practised. Non-surgical contraception is a realistic future goal. Because the feral cat problem was created by humans, concerted educational efforts on responsible pet ownership and the intrinsic value of animals is an integral part of a solution.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Neutering feral cats

Zaunbrecher, K. I.; Smith, R. E. (1993). Neutering of feral cats as an alternative to eradication programs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 203 (3): 449–452.

Traps were set up and baited with commercial cat food near the cats usual feeding and resting area. The captured cats were taken to a holding area. After food was withheld for 12 h, the cats were given an i.m. injection of acepromazine (1 mg) and ketamine (33 mg/kg bwt), and neutered using standard techniques and semiabsorbable synthetic suture material that did not need to be removed at a later date. A multivalent vaccine was given s.c. and a rabies vaccine i.m. After recovery from anaesthesia the cats were given food and water and the males were released at the point of capture 24 h after surgery and the females after a further 24 h. The colony contained 40 cats including 2 males that were not neutered and was monitored at intervals. At 36 months 5 cats had died and 5 had disappeared. The costs of the scheme are discussed.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Two examples of cat colony management in Texas and in Florida

Hughes, K. L., & Slater, M. R. (2002). Implementation of a feral cat management program on a university campus. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 5(1), 15-28.

In August 1998, Texas A&M University implemented on campus a trap-test-vaccinate-alter-return-monitor (TTVARM) program to manage the feral cat population. TTVARM is an internationally recognized term for trapping and neutering programs aimed at management of feral cat populations. In this article we summarize results of the program for the period August 1998 to July 2000. In surgery laboratories, senior veterinary students examined cats that were humanely trapped once a month and tested them for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus infections, vaccinated, and surgically neutered them. They euthanized cats testing positive for either infectious disease. Volunteers provided food and observed the cats that were returned to their capture sites on campus and maintained in managed colonies. The program placed kittens and tame cats for adoption; cats totaled 158. Of the majority of 158 captured cats, there were less kittens caught in Year 2 than in Year 1. The proportion of tame cats trapped was significantly greater in Year 2 than in Year 1. The prevalence found for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus ELISA test positives was 5.8% and 6.5%, respectively. Following surgery, 101 cats returned to campus. The project recaptured, retested, and revaccinated more than one-fourth of the cats due for their annual vaccinations. The program placed 32 kittens, juveniles, and tame adults for adoption. The number of cat complaints received by the university's pest control service decreased from Year 1 to Year 2.

Hughes, K. L., Slater, M. R., & Haller, L. (2002). The effects of implementing a feral cat spay/neuter program in a Florida county animal control service. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 5(4), 285-298.

In 1995, a county animal control service implemented a feral cat sterilization program with the goal of reducing the number of healthy cats euthanized, complaints, and the county's costs. Theservice collected data from a 6-year period both before and after the program's implementation. The service totaled the numbers of both cat and dog impoundments, surgeries, adoptions, euthanasias, and complaints for each year; standardized both sets of numbers on a per- 10,000-person basis to compare trends between dogs and cats; and calculated estimated costs for neutering versus impounding and euthanizing the feral cats. Changing from a policy of euthanasia of feral cats to support for trap-neuter-return did not result in an increase in the number of complaints or cat impoundments. The percentage of impounded cats euthanized decreased between the periods before and after the program began, and the percentage adopted increased. The ratio of complaints to impounds decreased between the 2 periods, and the ratio of surgeries to impounds increased. Impoundments of cats were relatively steady in spite of the continually increasing human population. Euthanasias decreased for both cats and dogs since 1997. Since 1996, complaints decreased for both. Surgeries for both cats and dogs increased over the 12 years. Adoptions for cats and dogs increased greatly in fiscal year 1998/1999.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Interactions between feral cats, foxes, native carnivores, and rabbits in Australia

Robley, A., Reddiex, B., Arthur T., Pech R. & Forsyth, D. (2004). Interactions between feral cats, foxes, native carnivores, and rabbits in Australia. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.

Through the Natural Heritage Trust, the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) is working to develop and implement coordinated actions to reduce damage to the natural environment and primary production caused by feral animals.
Predation by foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis catus) have been identified as known or perceived threats to 34 and 38 native species, respectively, in threat abatement plans provided for under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Land degradation and competition with native species by European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is also listed as a key threatening process under the EPBC Act. The aim of this report is to review the evidence of the interactions between these three pest species, their control and the impact they have on Australian native species. The objectives of this report are:
1. To determine the nature of interactions between feral cats and foxes (competition and/or predation), especially in relation to control of either or both species, and the associated impacts on native species and ecological communities (especially those
listed as threatened under the EPBC Act), and feral rabbit populations within Australian habitats/regions.
2. To determine the implications of feral rabbit control to feral cat, fox and native prey populations, and the importance of rabbits for maintaining high feral cat and fox numbers within Australian habitats/regions.
3. To determine the interactions between feral cats, foxes and native carnivores and relative significance of competition and predation by feral cats and foxes to these native species.
Based on the degree of overlap in distribution and diet of feral cats and foxes, there is a potential for competitive interactions. There is circumstantial evidence of foxes excluding feral cats from food resources, and of foxes killing feral cats. No studies have experimentally demonstrated an increase in the rate of predation by feral cats on native species following a reduction in fox abundance in Australia. Several studies have described increases in cat abundance following reductions in fox numbers resulting from control operations. However, the evidence for an increase in abundance in cat abundance following fox control is inconsistent between studies and may be confounded by inadequate monitoring techniques and behavioural changes.
A potential cost of predator control is an increase in rabbit abundance, which may cause increased competition for food and other resources with native herbivores. Several studies suggest that predators can exert prolonged regulating pressure on rabbits at low densities and can impede recovery of rabbit populations. Particularly when populations have already been significantly reduced through external factors such as disease, drought, high or low rainfall, floods or warren ripping. However, predator manipulation studies over a wide range of habitats have provided inconsistent evidence of predator regulation of rabbits. Predation appears to play an important role in regulating rabbit populations in arid and semi-arid systems under certain conditions (e.g. after drought has reduced rabbit populations), but has weaker effects in more temperate environments or when environmental conditions improve and rabbits escape regulation. It is important to note that many of the studies that have shaped our understanding of population regulation of rabbits in Australia were undertaken prior to the escape of Rabbit Haemorrhagic disease (RHD) in Australia. The potential regulatory effect of RHD on rabbit populations and the effect this could have on rabbit–predator interactions is largely unknown. The impact of rabbits on flora and soils is well documented, but the impact on native mammal species is poorly understood.
The impact of changes in predators and their primary prey on native mammal species has been the focus of few experimental studies. Studies that have discussed the role of foxes and feral cats in regulating rabbit populations have largely not investigated the benefits or costs of predator control to native species. Other studies that have investigated the impact of fox and cat control on native mammal species have reported benefits from pest control; however, there are many acknowledged limitations of these studies. While several studies have reported that fox removal has benefited a range of native species, many have not assessed pre-control population parameters, do not have control sites, are not replicated, and have not attempted to test alternative hypotheses to predation, such as competition by herbivores. Also there are several notable exceptions to a general response to fox control (e.g. mixed responses of small mammal abundance from Operation FoxGlove WA, Project Eden, WA and Project Deliverance, Vic). While
the limitations cited above might have resulted from limited budgets and logistical constraints associated with large-scale operations, the inferences that can be drawn are limited nevertheless.
From the studies reviewed it is unclear what the impact of a decline in rabbits is on native species. In the studies reviewed in this report, both feral cats and foxes shift consumption to the next most abundant prey item (e.g. invertebrates, reptiles, or birds) in the absence or decline of rabbits. There is no evidence that as a result of a decrease in rabbits there is an increase in predation rates on populations of rare or endangered species. The interactions between rabbits and predators in arid and semi-arid environments have been relatively well studied in comparison to more temperate parts of Australia. Our level of understanding of these interactions and the impact on native species in arid and semi-arid and temperate environments is less well understood. In temperate environments the relationship between changes in rabbit abundance and declines in either feral cats or foxes has not been clearly demonstrated. Also, no studies showed that a decline in rabbit abundance leads to an increased rate of predation on native species. It appears that in systems where rabbits are not the staple prey item, changes in rabbit abundance have little impact on populations of feral cats or foxes.
Little quantitative information is available on the interactions between introduced predators and native carnivores. Available data suggests that dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), may be capable of suppressing fox populations, but that this is likely to be mediated by specific environmental conditions such as drought. There is some evidence to suggest that foxes spatially and temporally avoid wild dogs and that only during times of limited resources do the two come into direct conflict. Similarly, there is a lack of knowledge on the impacts of feral cats and foxes on native predators.
We used simulation models to explore the potential interactions between rabbits, foxes and feral cats. The sensitivity of the model to small changes in rainfall suggests a more detailed understanding of the relationships is required. More specifically, there is a need to quantify the relationship between rabbits and foxes and feral cats. Numerical responses for the two predators should be determined in relation to both the abundance of rabbits (or juvenile rabbits) and simultaneously the abundance of alternative food sources. To properly quantify and model the impact of foxes and feral cats on both rabbits and native prey requires kill rates of these prey to be assessed in relation to the availability of all prey types. This is particularly important for native prey. It is also important to understand the population dynamics of native Australian prey and the population dynamics of rabbits following the arrival of RHD, in the absence of predation from introduced predators. The limited data available for temperate systems suggest fox population dynamics may not be linked as strongly to rabbit dynamics as they appear to be in semi-arid systems. Alternative models are thus required for temperate systems. These models will almost certainly require data on the interactions of predators and a wide variety of foods. Feral cats are rarely seen in spotlight counts in temperate systems and no quantitative numerical relationships can be established from
the available data. Several studies have reported that integrated control (ripping, RHD or both poison baiting and RHD) has enhanced the decline of predator species, but to our knowledge no studies have investigated the costs and benefits of integrated feral animal control. A risk-averse approach would be to undertake integrated control wherever feral cats, foxes and rabbits co-occur. However, this may not be practical or possible due to limitations on resources. At present we have no clear understanding of the costs and benefits associated with integrated control programs. Despite a number of studies that have provided valuable insights into the impacts that changes in prey abundance can have on populations of introduced predators, and how predators can influence the abundance of prey species, there are many gaps in our understanding of predator prey interactions.
The four main areas where further information would improve our understanding of the interactions between feral cats, foxes, rabbits, their control and the impacts on native species are:
1. How to effectively monitor changes in abundance of introduced predators, particularly feral cats. At this point in time we are limited in our ability to control feral cats over large areas, although this is an area of current research.
2. The impact of predator control operations on the population dynamics and social organisation of sympatric predators and the impacts on native species and communities.
3. The role of rabbits in temperate systems in supporting elevated numbers of foxes and feral cats.
4. The effects of disease (RHD and myxomatosis), particularly in temperate environments, on the interactions between predators and their prey A combination of focused research programs on the more tractable parameters of the above identified gaps, and larger scale experiments conducted over appropriate temporal and spatial scales is likely to produce important advances in our understanding of the interactions between feral cats, foxes, rabbits, their control and native species. It is recommended that at the completion of such studies the information gained is used to update the models of the systems as presented in this review, that the results be peer reviewed and made widely available, and the outcomes from the models should be used to direct management strategies for these pest species.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Introduction and spread of cats in Australia

Abbott, I. (2002). Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion of the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna.Wildlife Research, 29(1), 51-74.

A comprehensive search of historical sources found no evidence that the cat, Felis catus, was present on mainland Australia prior to settlement by Europeans. Nor were records of cats found in journals of expeditions of exploration beyond settled areas, undertaken in the period 1788–1883. Cats did not occupy Australia from the earliest point of entry (Sydney, 1788), but instead diffused and were spread from multiple coastal introductions in the period 1824–86. By 1890 nearly all of the continent had been colonised. This new chronology for the feline colonisation of Australia necessitates a re-appraisal of the early impact of the cat on native mammal and bird species. The evidence for early impacts of cats causing major and widespread declines in native fauna is considered tenuous and unconvincing.

Abbott, I. (2008). The spread of the cat, Felis catus, in Australia: re-examination of the current conceptual model with additional information.Conservation Science Western Australia, 7(1), 1-17.

This paper is an update of Abbott, I (2002) Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion of the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna. Wildlife Research 29, 51–74. An additional 33 journals of expeditions of exploration or excursions beyond settled areas before 1895 were located, and as expected from the current conceptual model, none of these recorded cats. These accounts of travel through country as yet unsettled or sparsely settled by Europeans necessitate only one small modification (relating to north-east Queensland) to the conceptual model presented previously. In addition, nearly 150 new records of cats were located in other parts of Australia, and all are consistent with the chronology of spread hypothesized in the previous paper. For Tasmania, following their introduction in 1804, cats were first recorded there as feral in the 1840s. Incidental records were found indicating that in parts of Australia the spread of the cat was assisted by their release in regions experiencing their first outbreaks of rabbits, by flood-linked irruptions of the long-haired rat (Rattus villosissimus), and by their release to control rodents destroying sugar cane plantations in northern Queensland. Feral cats of large size were first detected in various regions of Australia some 10–30 years after local settlement.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Introduced mammals impacts on seabirds in Îles Éparses

Russell, J. C., & Le Corre, M. (2009). Introduced mammal impacts on seabirds in the Îles Éparses, Western Indian Ocean. Marine Ornithology, 37, 121-128.

Invasive mammals have devastated endemic island communities throughout the world, and seabirds have proven particularly vulnerable, with many species extinctions. Introduced predators have had the greatest effect through direct predation, but this effect can now be mitigated by modern eradication techniques. However, the removal of a species from a community can generate different indirect effects depending on the trophic levels that are interacting. Conservation managers eradicating introduced mammals must consider ecosystemwide effects and view island management within a “whole ecosystem” context. It is important to consider unexpected indirect effects from eradications. However, eradication of introduced mammals should not be delayed, especially when direct effects such as predation are a known cause of terminal decline for a threatened species. We use the French Îles Éparses of the Western Indian Ocean, with their various combinations of six introduced mammals, to demonstrate the direct and indirect effects that introduced mammals may have, and how those effects might affect the regionally important seabirds with breeding colonies on the islands. We conclude by making recommendations for the future management of the islands.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Feral cats and biodiversity conservation

Nogales, M., E. Vidal, F.M. Medina, E.Bonnaud, B.R. Tershy, K. J. Campbell, & E.S. Zavaleta. 2013. Feral Cats and Biodiversity Conservation: The Urgent Prioritization of Island Management. BioScience 63: 804–810

A great part of the Earth’s biodiversity occurs on islands, to which humans have brought a legion of invasive species that have caused population declines and even extinctions. The domestic cat is one of the most damaging species introduced to islands, being a primary extinction driver for at least 33 insular endemic vertebrates. Here, we examine the role of feral cats in the context of the island biodiversity crisis, by combining data from reviews of trophic studies, species conservation status reports, and eradication campaigns. The integration of these reviews permits us to identify priority islands where feral cat eradications are likely to be feasible and where cats are predicted to cause the next vertebrate extinctions.
Funding agencies and global conservation organizations can use these results to prioritize scarce conservation funds, and national and regional natural resource management agencies can rank their islands in need of feral cat eradication within a global context.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Perceptions on outdoor cats

Wald, D. M., Jacobson, S. K., & Levy, J. K. (2013). Outdoor cats: Identifying differences between stakeholder beliefs, perceived impacts, risk and management. Biological Conservation, 167: 414-424.

Conflict over the management of outdoor cats has contributed to debate between animal welfare and wildlife advocates and stymied efforts to control outdoor cats. We distributed a mail survey to a random sample of participants in Trap-Neuter-Return programs for outdoor cats, Audubon Society members and the public across four counties in Florida (N = 1363) to identify differences between these stakeholders’ perceptions and support for the management of outdoor cats. We used a perception of risk framework to evaluate group differences in attitudes and beliefs about outdoor cats, perceptions of positive and negative impacts, ecological risk perceptions, and support for management options. Multivariate Analysis of Variance results indicated significant differences between groups across all of our measured scales. Discriminant Function Analysis helped identify two distinct groups; explaining 79% and 21% of the variance between groups. Group membership was predicted by cat ownership, attitudes toward and beliefs about outdoor cats, perceived impacts, risk perceptions, and management attitudes. This research is the first to explore differences in cognitions and preferences related to outdoor cat management with three important stakeholder groups. To reduce response bias, our survey included both positive and negative impact items and neutral terminology. Our findings suggest that surveys, based solely on public opinions about outdoor cats, do not reflect the diversity of opinion of all relevant stakeholder groups.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Domestic dogs in Wildlife habitats

It is difficult to segregate human demographic trends from trends in rural development and outdoor recreational participation in settings like the West where they appear to be interrelated. One extension of human recreation in wildlife habitats is the effect of disturbance, harassment, displacement, or direct mortality of wildlife attributable to domestic dogs that accompany recreationists. At some level, domestic dogs still maintain instincts to hunt and/or chase. Given the appropriate stimulus, those instincts can be triggered in many different settings. Even if the chase instinct is not triggered, dog presence in and of itself has been shown to disrupt many wildlife species. Authors of many wildlife disturbance studies concluded that dogs with people, dogs on-leash, or loose dogs provoked the most pronounced disturbance reactions from their study animals. During winter, concerns are primarily related to human activity on ungulate winter ranges. Dogs extend the zone of human influence when off-leash. Many ungulate species demonstrated more pronounced reactions to unanticipated disturbances, as a dog off-leash would be until within very close range. In addition, dogs can force movement by ungulates (avoidance or evasion during pursuit), which is in direct conflict with overwinter survival strategies which promote energy conservation. During summer, concerns are primarily related to the birth and rearing of young for all wildlife species. Dogs are noted predators for various wildlife species in all seasons. Domestic dogs can potentially introduce diseases (distemper, parvovirus, and rabies) and transport parasites into wildlife habitats. While dog impacts to wildlife likely occur at the individual scale, the results may still have important implications for wildlife populations. For most wildlife species, if a “red flag” is raised by pedestrian-based recreational disturbance, there could also be problems associated with the presence of domestic dogs. Managers may consider the following when evaluating recreational impacts of dogs in wildlife habitats: species biology, reproductive potential, abundance, density, distribution, degree of habitat specificity or reliance on certain habitat components, and predisposition and sensitivity to disturbance by other agents. This information is intended to increase awareness among natural resource professionals and the public about the potential implications of uncontrolled domestic dogs in wildlife habitats and to encourage responsible outdoor recreation ethics.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Population and social biology of free-ranging dogs

Daniels, T. J., & Bekoff, M. (1989). Population and social biology of free-ranging dogs, Canis familiaris. Journal of Mammalogy, 754-762.

Population size and density, age structure, survivorship patterns, sex ratios, and social organization of urban, rural, and feral dog (Canis familiaris) populations were examined in Cd. Juarez, Mexico (urban site) and on the Navajo reservation (rural and wild sites) between June 1983 and December 1984. Urban and rural dogs were less social than expected whereas feral dogs characteristically lived in packs. Seasonal variation in the structure of feral dog packs was influenced by reproduction, both directly (pups born into the pack) and indirectly (pregnant females may temporarily emigrate form the pack to give birth).

Comparative social ecology of feral dogs and wolves

Boitani, L., & Ciucci, P. (1995). Comparative social ecology of feral dogs and wolves. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 7(1), 49-72.

In this paper we compare some socio-ecological traits of feral dogs and wolves in order to assess the social ecology of feral dogs in terms of its adaptive value in the natural environment, and to evaluate to what extent the domestication process altered the wolf's socio-ecological patterns. Referring to feral dogs as those dogs living in a wild state with no food and shelter intentionally provided by humans, and showing a continuous and strong avoidance of direct human contacts, we review the currently available information on feral dog ecology, and particular reference is made to a 3-year term project on feral dog ecology in Abruzzo, Italy. Through comparison of relevant behavioural and ecological features of both wolves and feral dogs, we hypothesize that some aspects of the feral dogs' ecology, having escaped natural selection pressures, represent primarily expression of “evolutionary inertia” or an epiphenomena of artificial selection. Fitness-related measures of sociality, demography, reproduction, space-use, activity patterns, and feeding ecology in feral dogs tend to support our original hypothesis: feral dogs are not reproductively self-sustaining, suffer from high rates of juvenile mortality, depend indirectly upon humans for food, co-optable individuals, and space, and their demography appears dominated by unpredictable mechanisms. However, further research is needed, especially concerning different ecological conditions and multi-generational time-scales, as well as the role that dominant breed-types and cross-breeding history within feral dog groups might play in the expression of the analyzed socio-ecological features.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Behaviour of deers chased by hunting dogs

Sweeney, J. R., Marchinton, R. L., & Sweeney, J. M. (1971). Responses of radio-monitored white-tailed deer chased by hunting dogs. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 35 (4): 707-716.

Studies were conducted on three separate areas-Auburn, Alabama; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and Savannah River Plant, South Carolina-to determine the responses of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to chasing by hunting dogs (Canis familiaris). Deer chosen for harassment were animals that had been studied by telemetry until normal behavior, movement patterns, and ranges were delineated. In every chase the deer escaped the hounds, and all deer remained in good physical condition throughout the study. Behavior that resulted in escape was classified into five categories: holding, distance running, circuitous zigzag running, separating from a group, and using escape habitat. Chases averaged 33 minutes in duration and 2.4 miles in distance with maximums of 155 minutes and 13.4 miles recorded. Deer in high populations were more difficult to chase for extended periods than those in low populations. Although the deer did not require water for escape, they usually selected swamps or other bodies of water when these were available. The deer could readily be chased out of their home ranges, but usually they returned in 1 day or sooner.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Feral cats threaten endemic Barau's Petrel

Faulquier, L., Fontaine, R., Vidal, E., Salamolard, M., & Le Corre, M. (2009). Feral Cats Felis catus Threaten the Endangered Endemic Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui at Reunion Island (Western Indian Ocean). Waterbirds,32(2), 330-336.

Cats (Felis catus) were probably introduced to Reunion Island (Western Indian Ocean) in the seventeenth century and feral populations are now spread over all anthropogenic and native habitats. The diet of feral cats living in the breeding habitat of Barau's Petrel (Pterodroma baraui), an endemic and threatened seabird of Reunion Island, were studied. Results from the analysis of 217 scat (333 prey items) showed that Barau's Petrel were the most common prey of feral cats, followed by introduced rodents. Numerous dead birds at breeding colonies that had been killed by cats were found, 58% of the birds were adults. Given the high sensitivity of the population growth rate of a long-lived seabird to any additive mortality of adults, these results are particularly worrying. As this species is also threatened by massive light-induced mortality of fledglings, it is highly likely that this population is declining. A control of cats at breeding colonies is urgently needed to save this species from extinction.

Pinet, P., Salamolard, M., Probst, J.M., Russell, J.C., Jaquemet, S. & Le Corre, M. 2009. Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui: history, biology and conservation of an endangered petrel. Marine Ornithology 37: 107–113.

The Barau’s petrel Pterodroma baraui is an endangered gadfly petrel endemic to Reunion Island. It nests in pristine cloud forests between 2200 m and 2800 m above sea level. Although locally abundant, this species is one of the least-studied seabirds in the world. The lack of basic biological information constrains effective conservation action. In this paper, we compile information on past and present status and distribution, ecology, threats and conservation actions. The objectives were to: (i) summarize current knowledge and identify major gaps, (ii) outline major threats to Barau’s Petrel and (iii) propose management actions to mitigate those threats. Critical gaps in our knowledge include (i) a lack of precise demographic parameters, (ii) the exact distribution of this species at sea and the factors that influence it, and (iii) habitat requirements associated with nesting. Barau’s Petrel is classified endangered (International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List 2008). The major threats include, in order of importance, predation by alien mammals, light-induced mortality and modification of nesting habitat. These threats affect the various age classes of the population (eggs, chicks, juveniles and adults) differently. A recent modelling exercise suggested the extinction of Barau’s Petrel in fewer than 100 years, attributable to feral cat predation at breeding colonies in the absence of cat control. The recent establishment of a National Park on Reunion Island should unify conservation and research actions, and prioritise controlling feral cats in breeding colonies. This control should commence as soon as possible in association with a dedicated education program on the effects of feral cats on the Barau’s Petrel population.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Invasive species removal in whole ecosystem context

Zavaleta, E. S., Hobbs, R. J., & Mooney, H. A. (2001). Viewing invasive species removal in a whole-ecosystem context. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 16(8), 454-459.

Eradications of invasive species often have striking positive effects on native biota. However, recent research has shown that species removal in isolation can also result in unexpected changes to other ecosystem components. These secondary effects will become more likely as numbers of interacting invaders increase in ecosystems, and as exotics in late stages of invasion eliminate native species and replace their functional roles. Food web and functional role frameworks can be used to identify ecological conditions that forecast the potential for unwanted secondary impacts. Integration of eradication into a holistic process of assessment and restoration will help safeguard against accidental, adverse effects on native ecosystems.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Interactions among dogs, people and wildlife

Bekoff, M., & Meaney, C. A. (1997). Interactions among dogs, people, and the environment in Boulder, Colorado: A case study. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary. Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 10(1), 23-31.

From September 1995 to April 1996 we studied interactions among dogs, people, and the environment in Boulder, Colorado. Data on behavioral disturbances by off-leash dogs who were accompanied by a person were collected with respect to dog-dog and dog-human interactions, dog-wildlife encounters, dogs trampling vegetation, and dogs entering and disturbing bodies of water. A questionnaire also was administered. Behavioral data showed that off-leash dogs generally did not travel far off trail, that when they did it was for short periods of time, and that they rarely were observed to chase other dogs, disturb people, chase wildlife, destroy vegetation, or enter bodies of water. Results from analyses of the questionnaire (skewed toward non-dog owners) showed that dog owners and non-dog owners agreed that people were more disruptive to the environment than dogs and that unruly people were more problematic than unruly dogs. We conclude that the well-being and interests of dogs should not summarily and dismissively be compromised when dogs and people attempt to share limited space that can be used by all parties for recreational purposes. Indeed, a higher percentage of people reported that the quality of dogs' experience of the outdoors would be compromised more than their own enjoyment if dogs could not walk off-leash in areas where this is currently permitted. The methods used and the results from this case study can serve as a model for other locations in which dogs and people compete for limited spatial resources.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Feral cats in Australia

Feral cats in Australia: A series of videos along an interview to Pr. C. Dickman

Feral dogs' ecology in Alabama

Scott, M. D., & Causey, K. (1973). Ecology of feral dogs in Alabama. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 37 (3): 253-265.

Feral dog ecology was investigated in two areas in Alabama during 1970 and 1971 utilizing live-trapping and radiotelemetry techniques. The very aggressive behavior of feral dogs when trapped was used to distinguish them from free-ranging and tame dogs. Confirmation of the dog's classification was provided by telemetric procedures. Three feral packs and two solitary feral dogs were studied. Feral dogs were retrapped significantly more times than other dogs. Morphological characteristics did not differ. Pack sizes varied from two to five adult dogs, with home ranges covering 444 to 1,050 hectares (1,100-2,600 acres). Packs utilized moist flood-plain areas during warm weather and dry upland sites during cool weather. Daytime activity and distances traveled were greater during cool weather than in hot weather but dogs were most active at night during all seasons. Distances moved by packs during diel (24-hour) periods ranged from 0.5 to 8.2 km (0.3-5.1 miles). Sources of feral dogs were reproduction in the wild and recruitment from tame and free-ranging dogs. Feral dogs studied did not appear to be preying on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) or cattle. Foods eaten included small mammals, garbage, and vegetable material.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Population biology of feral cats on Marion Island

Van Aarde, R. J. (1984). Population biology and the control of feral cats on Marion Island. Acta Zoologica Fennica, 172, 107-110.

Predation by feral cats, Felis catus, on burrowing birds of southern temperate and sub-Antarctic islands has resulted in their presence being considered undesirable. Attempts to eradicate or control these cats on Marion Island, a temperate island to the southeast of South Africa, have included the introduction of the host-specific feline panleucopaenia virus during March 1977. Surveys suggest a continued decrease in population size since 1977, the mean cat density being 65% lower in June 1980 than in June 1976.

Bloomer, J. P., & Bester, M. N. (1992). Control of feral cats on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, Indian Ocean. Biological Conservation, 60(3), 211-219.

Since their introduction in 1949, feral cats have caused extensive damage to seabird populations on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, Indian Ocean. This paper reports on the first four years of an eradication programme launced in 1986. Eight hundred and seventy-two cats were shot dead and 80 trapped during 14 725 hours of hunting. Cats sighted per hour of night hunting and kills per hour decreased dramatically. Hunting success (cats killed as a proportion of those seen) decreased. The only reliable indication of the decrease in density as a result of hunting was the decrease in the number of cats seen per hour of night hunting. By the end of the third season it was apparent that hunting alone was no longer removing sufficient animals to maintain the population decline, and trapping was incorporated into the eradication programme.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Dogs in Atlantic forest fragments in Brazil

Galetti, M., & Sazima, I. (2006). Impact of feral dogs in an urban Atlantic forest fragment in southeastern Brazil. Natur. Conservation, 4, 146-151.

Feral domestic dogs are one of the main predators of native wildlife in protected areas all over the world. However, the number of prey killed by feral dogs is poorly recorded. A total of 46 carcasses of at least 12 vertebrate species killed by dogs were found along 44 months in an urban, 250 ha Atlantic forest fragment in southeastern Brazil. Feral dogs showed no apparent selection towards different species of prey, killing from small frogs to deer. Mammals were the most frequent prey found (75%). Our data indicate that feral dogs have a great impact on wildlife in the Atlantic forest, especially in areas where wildlife needs to move between forest fragments. Eradication programs, although controversial, are the only way to reduce wildlife predation by feral dogs.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Predator proof fencing in Hawai'i

UNIT, P. C. S. (2012). The use of predator proof fencing as a management tool in the Hawaiian Islands: a case study of Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve.

The Ka`ena Point Ecosystem Restoration Project was the result of a partnership between the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife and State Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Hawai`i Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Ka`ena Point Natural Area Reserve (NAR) hosts one of the largest seabird colonies in the main Hawaiian islands, three species of endangered plants, and is a pupping ground for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Prior to fence construction, nesting seabirds and native plants were under constant threat from predatory animals; up to 15% of seabird chicks were killed each year prior to fledging and many endangered plants were unable to reproduce as a result of seed predation. The project involved the construction of predator-proof fencing (2m tall) to prevent feral predators such as dogs, cats, mongoose, rats and mice from entering into 20ha of coastal habitat within Ka`ena Point, followed by removal of these species.

The project was initiated with the hiring of a project coordinator, followed closely by hiring of a two-person public outreach team. The public outreach was extensive reaching over 2500 individuals via personal contact and tens of thousands more as a result of dozens of stories appearing on evening news channels, articles published in local newspapers and newsletters, and several mini-documentaries aired on local cable television shows. A website was also established to post educational materials and information on the project (www.restoreKa`ena.org). The vast majority of the public was supportive despite the vigorous objections of a few individuals.

Multiple federal, state and county permits were required. In total 12 permits were applied for and obtained over a four-year period. Two years were lost as a result of multiple contested cases filed against the project which prevented progress during their resolution. Final permit approvals were completed in November 2010, construction began on November 10, 2010 and was completed on March 30, 2011 after a two-month hiatus for the holidays

To document the effects of predator removal, extensive ecological monitoring was conducted on both native and non-native species prior to the predator removal. A permanent monitoring grid with points placed every 50m was established in the reserve to document micro-habitat shifts. Seabird populations in the reserve had been monitored intensively for over seven years, and a complete botanical, invertebrate and marine intertidal survey was conducted to document the vascular plant species present and their percent cover. Extensive rodent monitoring was also conducted to document the species present, their relative abundance, reproductive cycle, and home range to select the most effective eradication method. Based on monitoring results and regulatory restrictions, a combination of diphacinone in bait boxes, as well as live traps were used to eradicate rodents, and a combination of live-trapping and shooting was used to remove larger animals such as dogs, cats and mongoose.

Invasive mammal eradication operations were initiated in February 2011 during the low point in the rodent reproductive cycle, using a combination of rodenticide in bait boxes spaced 25m apart and live multiple-catch traps placed 12.5m apart. Within three months, all predators, with the exception of mice were eradicated from within the reserve. Mice took an additional six months to full remove and operations were completed in the fall of 2011.

The exclusion and removal of these predatory animals is anticipated to increase in the existing population of nesting seabirds, encourage new seabird species to nest at Ka`ena Point, enhance regeneration and recruitment of native plants, and benefit monk seals by reducing the risk of disease transmission. The

Ka`ena Point Ecosystem Restoration Project is expected to have primarily positive effects on the resources protected in the NAR and provide the people of Hawai`i with an opportunity to visit a restored ecosystem. This was the first predator proof fence constructed in the United States at the time of its completion, and was the first project to successfully eliminate mice using the techniques discussed above.

Fencing to eradicate several invasive predators in Hawai'i

Young, L. C., VanderWerf, E. A., Lohr, M. T., Miller, C. J., Titmus, A. J., Peters, D., & Wilson, L. (2013). Multi-species predator eradication within a predator-proof fence at Ka ‘ena Point, Hawai ‘i. Biological Invasions, 1-12.

Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve on O‘ahu hosts one of the largest seabird colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands and supports three species of endangered plants. In order to stop chronic predation by invasive alien mammals on native species, a peninsula-style predator-proof fence was constructed around a 20-ha portion of the reserve in 2011. Multi-species predator removal efforts began upon fence completion; diphacinone poison in bait boxes spaced 25 m apart was used to remove black rats, house mice, and small Indian mongooses. House mice also were removed with multiple-catch live traps spaced 12.5 m apart. Feral cats were removed with padded leg-hold traps. Feral cats and mongooses were eradicated in 1 month, black rats were eradicated in 2.5 months, and house mice were eradicated in about 9 months. Since eradication, incursions of cats and mongoose have been rare (1/7.2 months), but incursion frequency has been higher for black rats (1/56 days) and house mice (1/36–47 days). Buffer predator control was conducted to limit predator access and prevent reinvasion around the fence ends along the shoreline. Even with the high initial fence cost and ongoing predator incursion management, this method is expected to become more cost effective than previous predator control efforts after 16 years. Record numbers of Wedge-tailed shearwaters and Laysan albatrosses have fledged from the reserve after predator eradication, and regeneration of native plants and invertebrates is being observed. With careful planning and persistence, predator fences can be a cost-effective method of protecting natural resources, and multiple species of predators can be eradicated with traps and first-generation anti-coagulents.

BOOK: Free-Ranging Dogs and Wildlife Conservation

Gompper, M.E. (Ed.) 2013. Free-Ranging Dogs and Wildlife Conservation. Oxford University Press. 

Table of contents

Luigi Boitani: Foreword
Matthew E. Gompper: Introduction: Outlining the Ecological Influences of a Subsidized, Domesticated Predator
1: Matthew E. Gompper: The Dog-Human-Wildlife Interface: Assessing the Scope of the Problem
2: Euan G. Ritchie, Mike Letnic, Christopher R. Dickman and Abi Tamim Vanak: Dogs as Predators and Trophic Regulators
3: Abi Tamim Vanak, Christopher R. Dickman, Eduardo A. Silva-Rodriguez, James R. A. Butler and Euan G. Ritchie: Top-dogs and Under-dogs: Competition between Dogs and Sympatric Carnivores
4: Michael A. Weston and Theodore Stankowich: Dogs as Agents of Disturbance
5: James R.A. Butler, John D.C. Linnell, Damian Morrant, Vidya Athreya, Nicolas Lescureux and Adam Mckeown: Dog Eat Dog, Cat Eat Dog: Social-ecological Dimensions and Implications of Dog Predation by Wild Carnivores
6: Darryn Knobel, James R. A. Butler, Tiziana Lembo, Rob Critchlow and Matthew E. Gompper: Dogs, Disease, and Wildlife
7: Jennifer A. Leonard, Jorge Echegaray, Ettore Randi and Carles Vilà: Impact of Hybridization with Domestic Dogs on the Conservation of Wild Canids
8: Ryan H. Boyko and Adam R. Boyko: Dog Conservation and the Population Genetic Structure of Dogs
9: Kurt VerCauteren, Michael Lavelle, Thomas M. Gehring, Jean-Marc Landry and Laurie Marker: Dogs as Mediators of Conservation Conflicts
10: Deborah A. (Smith) Woollett, Aimee Hurt and Ngaio Richards: The Current and Future Roles of Free-ranging Detection Dogs in Conservation Efforts
11: Jeremy Koster and Andrew Noss: Hunting Dogs and the Extraction of Wildlife as a Resource
12: Kelly K. Miller, Euan G. Ritchie and Michael A. Weston: The Human Dimensions of Dog-Wildlife Interactions

Predation by cats, the largest human related source of bird mortality in Canada

Blancher, P. 2013. Estimated number of birds killed by house cats (Felis catus) in Canada. Avian Conservation and Ecology 8(2): 3.

Predation by house cats (Felis catus) is one of the largest human-related sources of mortality for wild birds in the United States and elsewhere, and has been implicated in extinctions and population declines of several species. However, relatively little is known about this topic in Canada. The objectives of this study were to provide plausible estimates for the number of birds killed by house cats in Canada, identify information that would help improve those estimates, and identify species potentially vulnerable to population impacts. In total, cats are estimated to kill between 100 and 350 million birds per year in Canada (> 95% of estimates were in this range), with the majority likely to be killed by feral cats. This range of estimates is based on surveys indicating that Canadians own about 8.5 million pet cats, a rough approximation of 1.4 to 4.2 million feral cats, and literature values of predation rates from studies conducted elsewhere. Reliability of the total kill estimate would be improved most by better knowledge of feral cat numbers and diet in Canada, though any data on birds killed by cats in Canada would be helpful. These estimates suggest that 2-7% of birds in southern Canada are killed by cats per year. Even at the low end, predation by house cats is probably the largest human-related source of bird mortality in Canada. Many species of birds are potentially vulnerable to at least local population impacts in southern Canada, by virtue of nesting or feeding on or near ground level, and habitat choices that bring them into contact with human-dominated landscapes where cats are abundant. Because cat predation is likely to remain a primary source of bird mortality in Canada for some time, this issue needs more scientific attention in Canada.


La prédation par les chats domestiques (Felis catus) est une des causes de mortalité liées aux humains les plus importantes chez les oiseaux sauvages aux États-Unis et ailleurs; elle a également été mise en cause dans l’extinction et le déclin de populations de plusieurs espèces. Toutefois, la situation au Canada est plutôt méconnue. Cette étude visait à obtenir des estimations plausibles du nombre d’oiseaux tués par les chats domestiques au Canada, à déterminer les informations additionnelles pouvant contribuer à améliorer ces estimations et enfin, à identifier les espèces dont les populations pourraient être touchées. Dans l’ensemble, nous avons estimé que les chats tuaient entre 100 et 350 millions d’oiseaux par année au Canada (> 95 % des estimations se trouvaient dans cette plage), les chats sauvages tuant vraisemblablement la majorité de ces oiseaux. Cette plage d’estimations est fondée sur des relevés indiquant que les Canadiens possèdent 8,5 millions de chats domestiques environ, une approximation grossière du nombre de chats sauvages se situant entre 1,4 et 4,2 millions et des taux de prédation tirés d’autres recherches menées ailleurs qu’au Canada. Une meilleure connaissance du nombre de chats sauvages et de leur régime alimentaire au Canada permettrait d’améliorer grandement la fiabilité de l’estimation du nombre d’oiseaux tués, bien que n’importe quelle donnée sur les oiseaux tués par les chats au Canada y contribuerait également. Nos estimations indiquent que de 2 à 7 % des oiseaux dans le sud du Canada sont tués par les chats chaque année. Même en considérant l’estimation la plus prudente, la prédation par les chats domestiques est probablement la cause de mortalité d’oiseaux liée aux humains la plus importante au Canada. De nombreuses espèces d’oiseaux sont potentiellement vulnérables à des effets sur leurs populations au moins localement dans le sud du Canada, en raison de leur nidification ou de leur alimentation au sol ou près du niveau du sol, et des choix d’habitats qui les amènent dans des paysages dominés par les humains où les chats sont abondants. Étant donné que la prédation par les chats demeurera vraisemblablement une source importante de mortalité d’oiseaux au Canada dans un avenir rapproché, cet enjeu mérite davantage d’attention scientifique au Canada.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Mammal extinctions on Australian islands due mainly to cats

Burbidge, A. A., & Manly, B. F. (2002). Mammal extinctions on Australian islands: causes and conservation implications. Journal of Biogeography, 29(4), 465-473.


Data on Australian landbridge islands were analysed to seek relationships between the extinction of mammals on islands and a number of variables related to the islands, the native mammal species that occur on them and the presence or absence of exotic mammalian predators. The data base included attributes of the mammals (mean adult body weight, diet and shelter habitat) and of the islands [area, rainfall, presence/absence of significant areas of rockpile habitat, presence/absence of European red fox Vulpes vulpes Linnaeus, 1758, feral cat Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758, and rats Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758) and R. exulans (Peale, 1848)].


Statistical analysis of the 388 cases where a Critical Weight Range (CWR) mammal is extant and the forty-one cases where a CWR mammal is extinct was conducted using logistic regression to model the probability of extinction as a function of the island and mammal variables.


Foxes and cats are correlated with CWR mammal extinctions, but cats are associated with extinctions particularly on more arid islands. Extinctions are more likely on islands with an absence of significant areas of rockpile habitat and where the native mammal is restricted to the ground's surface, and is relatively large.


An association between the presence of cats and native mammal extinctions has not previously been demonstrated for Australian islands. The introduction of exotic predators to Australian islands with native mammal species should be avoided and should any of these predators establish all means should be employed to eradicate them. For Australian continental islands the introduction of exotic predators, not habitat clearance, has been the major factor in extinctions.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Canis hybrids in Oklahoma

Freeman, R. C., & Shaw, J. H. (1979). Hybridization in Canis (Canidae) in Oklahoma. The Southwestern Naturalist, 24 (3) 485-499.

Fifteen cranial and dental measurements were taken from 138 wild Canis collected during 1975-76 and from 114 specimens collected from 1953-70. These were compared to known target populations of coyotes, red wolves, gray wolves, dogs, and coyote x dog hybrids by discriminant function and canonical variable analyses and were, along with weight and pelage color, used to assign each specimen. Measurements of current (1975-76) specimens were compared with those of older (1953-70) samples to test for temporal changes. Most current Oklahoma specimens were coyote-like, with 82.9 percent of the males and 78.6 percent of the females classified as coyotes. Evidence of coyote x dog hybridization was found in 14.6 and 10.7 percent of the males and females, respectively. Red wolf x coyote ancestry was evident in 2.4 percent of the males and 10.7 percent of the females. Temporal comparisons indicated consistent levels of hybridization except in southeastern Oklahoma, where red wolf influence is declining.

See more about wild canid hybridisation with dogs

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sociological view on methods to control feral cats

Loyd, K. A. T., & Miller, C. A. (2010). Influence of demographics, experience and value orientations on preferences for lethal management of feral cats.Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 15(4), 262-273.

Populations of feral domestic cats have increased throughout the United States, affecting wildlife and warranting attention from a variety of management agencies. This contentious issue requires a greater understanding of public attitudes and preferences for population control. We used data from a 2004 mail survey of Illinois homeowners' attitudes toward wildlife and conservation to investigate support for the lethal control of feral cats and to examine factors (demographic, experience, and wildlife value orientations) that may influence preference for euthanasia as a management option. Community size, gender, education level, wildlife value orientations, and negative experiences with feral cats were significant predictors of preference for lethal

Loyd, K. A., & Miller, C. A. (2010). Factors related to preference for trap-neuterrelease management of feral cats among Illinois homeowners. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 74, 160-164.

Populations of feral domestic cats have increased throughout the United States, affecting wildlife and warranting attention from a variety of management agencies. This contentious issue requires a greater understanding of public attitudes and preferences for population control. We used data from a 2004 mail survey of Illinois, USA, homeowners’ attitudes towards wildlife and conservation to investigate support for the trap-neuter–release (TNR) of feral cats and to examine factors (demographic, experience, and wildlife values orientations) that may influence preference for TNR as a management option. Age, gender, and wildlife rights values orientations were significant predictors of preference for TNR, while negative experiences with feral cats were correlated with preferences for management options other than TNR. Investigations of public perceptions of feral cat management can help wildlife managers understand the growing public debate regarding feral cat management and provide appropriate input and educational materials regarding cat management and wildlife.

Domestic cat, the first fowl predator, Ethiopian farmers say

Selam, M., & Kelay, B. (2013). Causes of village chicken mortality and interventions by farmers in Ada’a District, Ethiopia. International Journal of Livestock Production, 4(6), 88-94.

The research was conducted in Ada’a district of the Eastern Shoa Zone, Ethiopia. This study was undertaken to investigate the major causes of chicken mortality under village production system and the intervention measures by farmers against the major causes of chicken mortality under village conditions. Data were collected through structured questionnaire from 180 households. Simple random sampling method was used to select the peasant associations and the households. The majority of the respondents put predation (91.9%) and disease (86.4%) as major causes of mortality in chicken older than 7 days. More than half of hatched chicks are lost due to mismanagement (29.4%), predation (67.8%) and other causes were also mentioned by less than 10% of the respondents. Significant proportion of the respondents (48.3%) did not provide modern medicine and those using, utilize mainly broad spectrum medicines without consulting veterinarians. The traditional medicaments included different medicinal plant species. As a conclusion, chicken in the study areas are highly affected by mortality due to predation and diseases. Appropriate management should be taken, therefore, to control the incidence of disease and reduce the loss of chicken kept under village chicken production systems due to predation and mismanagement.
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