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 30 December 2015

Proposal on solutions to stray dog problem in American cities

Lyu, P. (2015). Proposal on Solutions to Stray Dog Problem in American Cities. Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs, 2015.

With the development of cities, stray dogs have become one of the most serious public management problems in American cities, and a widespread concern by the public. Stray dogs have many negative impacts on city environment and human health. There are many causes for the stray dog problem. Strengths and weakness of each solution was analyzed. A Five Year Plan to better solve the stray dog problem was proposed by this proposal.

Dingo interactions with exotic mesopredators

Schroeder, T., Lewis, M. M., Kilpatrick, A. D., & Moseby, K. E. (2015). Dingo interactions with exotic mesopredators: spatiotemporal dynamics in an Australian arid-zone study. Wildlife Research, 42(6), 529-539.

Apex predators occupy the top level of the trophic cascade and often perform regulatory functions in many ecosystems. Their removal has been shown to increase herbivore and mesopredator populations, and ultimately reduce species diversity. In Australia, it has been proposed that the apex predator, the dingo (Canis dingo), has the potential to act as a biological control agent for two introduced mesopredators, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the feral cat (Felis catus). Understanding the mechanisms of interaction among the three species may assist in determining the effectiveness of the dingo as a control agent and the potential benefits to lower-order species. Aims. To test the hypotheses that feral cats and foxes attempt to both temporally avoid dingoes and spatially avoid areas of high dingo use. Methods Static and dynamic interaction methodologies based on global positioning system (GPS) telemetry data were applied to test temporal and spatial interactions between the two mesopredators (n=15) and a dingo pair (n=2). The experimental behavioural study was conducted in a 37-km2 fenced enclosure located in arid South Australia. Key results. The dynamic interaction analysis detected neither attraction nor avoidance between dingoes and cats or foxes at short temporal scales. There was no suggestion of delayed interactions, indicating that dingoes were not actively hunting mesopredators on the basis of olfactory signalling. However, static interaction analysis suggested that, although broad home ranges of cats and foxes overlapped with dingoes, core home ranges were mutually exclusive. This was despite similar habitat preferences among species. Conclusions. We found that avoidance patterns were not apparent when testing interactions at short temporal intervals, but were manifested at larger spatial scales. Results: support previous work that suggested that dingoes kill mesopredators opportunistically rather than through active hunting. Implications. Core home ranges of dingoes may provide refuge areas for small mammals and reptiles, and ultimately benefit threatened prey species by creating mesopredator-free space. However, the potential high temporal variation in core home-range positioning and small size of mutually exclusive areas suggested that further work is required to determine whether these areas provide meaningful sanctuaries for threatened prey.

Dog diet and interaction with wildlife in Colombia

Manjarrés Rodríguez, T. S. (2015). Dieta del perro (Canis familiaris) y sus interacciones con la fauna silvestre de la cuenca alta del Río Otún-Risaralda (Colombia). Trabajo de grado presentado para optar al titulo de: Magister en Conservación y Uso de la Biodiversidad (Modalidad de investigación) 

The dog (Canis familiaris) interact with the wild life mainly through depredation, competition and disease transmission. However, it is not known very clearly how these interactions occur. To answer this question, this work identified the dog's diet and the presence of disease Parvovirus (CPV). From this information, contrasted with the knowledge of the residents of the study area, the possible interactions with the dog can keep wildlife in the study area were determined. The diet analysis showed that dog consumed waste, followed by the rest of medium and small mammals, and finally to a lesser extent vegetation and insects. The community also identified the consumption of birds and reptiles in a low percentage. Neither dog feces showed the presence of CPV, possibly in part because community mentioned that all domestic dogs were vaccinated. However the perception of the community on predation dog does not resemble reality obtained in this study, so it is recommended to do session about esterilizaton and vaccination, and to awareness the workers and community about dog control and prohibit the entry of those coming with tourists in the study area.

Distribution and habitat use of invasive dogs in Colombia

Manjarrés Rodríguez, T. S. (2015). Distribución y uso de hábitat del perro (Canis familiaris) en la cuenca alta del río Otún (Risaralda-Colombia).Trabajo de grado presentado para optar al titulo de: Magister en Conservación y Uso de la Biodiversidad (Modalidad de investigación)
The dog (Canis familiaris) is a alien specie that when is present in natural areas get to interact with wildlife as a competitor, predator and transmitter of disease. The present study identified through the
tracking the dog abundance index and the dog selection of habitat types, its density with the probability density Kernel-ArcGis 10 and its potential distribution related with environmental
variables that limit or favor he dog presence through the MAXENT program. How results the dog
was found in both vegetation types studied (secondary forest and grassland). The dog got a high
density and abundance in the study area, surpassing the abundance of wildlife registered. The
Bonferroni interval showed that the dog and the fox (Cerdocyon thous) shared the same types of
habitat. The variables that favors their presence were the proximity to house and roads turning the
upper basin of the river Otun in vulnerable to the constant invasion of this specie.

Monday 28 December 2015

First evidence of hybridization between golden jackal and domestic dog

Galov, A., Fabbri, E., Caniglia, R., Arbanasić, H., Lapalombella, S., Florijančić, T., ... & Randi, E. (2015). First evidence of hybridization between golden jackal (Canis aureus) and domestic dog (Canis familiaris) as revealed by genetic markers. Royal Society Open Science, 2(12), 150450.
Male golden jackal–dog hybrid (60c) with black coat coloration (a)
and ears with rounded tip (b) (dog characteristics),
and forelimbs with partially joined digital pads of the
middle fingers (golden jackal characteristics) (c).

Interspecific hybridization is relatively frequent in nature and numerous cases of hybridization between wild canids and domestic dogs have been recorded. However, hybrids between golden jackals (Canis aureus) and other canids have not been described before. In this study, we combined the use of biparental (15 autosomal microsatellites and three major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci) and uniparental (mtDNA control region and a Y-linked Zfy intron) genetic markers to assess the admixed origin of three wild-living canids showing anomalous phenotypic traits. Results indicated that these canids were hybrids between golden jackals and domestic dogs. One of them was a backcross to jackal and another one was a backcross to dog, confirming that golden jackal–domestic dog hybrids are fertile. The uniparental markers showed that the direction of hybridization, namely females of the wild species hybridizing with male domestic dogs, was common to most cases of canid hybridization. A melanistic 3bp-deletion at the K locus (β-defensin CDB103 gene), that was absent in reference golden jackal samples, but was found in a backcross to jackal with anomalous black coat, suggested its introgression from dogs via hybridization. Moreover, we demonstrated that MHC sequences, although rarely used as markers of hybridization, can be also suitable for the identification of hybrids, as long as haplotypes are exclusive for the parental species.

See more about wild canid hybridisation with dogs

Sunday 27 December 2015

Distribution and correlates of feral cat trapping permits in Los Angeles

Kingsley, G. (2015). Distribution and correlates of feral cat trapping permits in Los Angeles, California (doctoral dissertation, University of Southern California)

Uncontrolled populations of feral cats in urban settings have become of concern to public officials, wildlife scientists, animal rights advocates and the public in general due to the risks they pose to public health, urban wildlife, and esthetics. Solutions to the problem of unmanaged cat populations in cities have been limited in scope by the lack of actual data on feral cats and the urban geographic ranges they occupy. Full extent censuses and environmental analyses have not been collected or performed due to the resources allocations and costs involved. A method for collecting this data without the use of field crews and research summaries exists in the form of unused paper records. Past studies on the problem have used data mining of available records to model cat territories and densities (Aguilar and Farnworth 2012). This approach mitigates the cost while providing information regarding the distributions of these animals. This thesis investigates the spatial properties of feral cat populations in a large metropolitan area (Los Angeles, California) using a previously non-spatialized dataset as a proxy for concentrations of feral cats. The following case study explores two matters: 1) development of a workflow to create a spatial model of feral cat extents from geographic data brought into an analyzable format and 2) analysis of the model data to determine what, if any, variables are correlated with these distributions. The data used for the model were obtained from the City in the form of paper records and successfully imported into a Geographic Information System. Densities of applications were determined from the cleaned and geocoded records and concentrations of both raw density and patterns of clustering were mapped. Modeling of correlations found positive associations with population density and a weak negative correlation with median income. The analysis was assessed and future work on this type of data was considered.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Known people affect cats' behaviour at cat colony

Damasceno, J., Genaro, G., & Terçariol, C. A. S. (2015). Effect of the presence of a person known to the cats on the feeding behavior and placement of feeders of a domestic cat colony. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Knowledge of the organization and dynamics of the relationships between animals and the environment and its resources is important to meet the needs of any species. We analyzed the effect the presence of a person known to the cats had on their feeding behavior, and the effect of how the cats used the feeders on a colony of 35 domestic cats who lived in a sanctuary. Cats were observed for 24 hours per day for 5 days in the feeding area of the enclosure. Our results indicate that the individuals in the colony organized themselves within their feeding area, with some of these individuals using a specific feeder, whereas others used both feeders. Individuals consistently exhibited increased feeding behavior in the presence of a human who provided fresh food (View the MathML source = 4.11 ± 0.62 minutes when humans were present compared with View the MathML source = 0.17 ± 0.01 minutes when that human was absent, P < 0.0079). These data reveal that the members of the colony organized themselves to access existing resources in the environment and that the presence of a person known to the cats influences the feeding behavior of those animals. This information helps promote a potentially comfortable environment, with respect to intraspeficic relationships and the animal-human relationship, an important consideration in management of this species when living in confined environments.

Selfish mothers

Paul, M., Majumder, S. S., Nandi, A. K., & Bhadra, A. (2015). Selfish mothers indeed! Resource-dependent conflict over extended parental care in free-ranging dogs. Royal Society Open Science, 2(12), 150580.
Parent–offspring conflict (POC) theory provides an interesting premise for understanding social dynamics in facultatively social species. In free-ranging dogs, mothers increase conflict over extended parental care with their pups beyond the weaning stage. In this study, we investigated whether resource quality affects POC in the dogs that typically live in a highly competitive environment as scavengers. We built a theoretical model to predict the alternative options available to the mother in the context of food sharing with her pups when protein-rich food (meat) is provided, as compared to carbohydrate-rich food (biscuits). We fit the mothers’ response from experimental data to the model and show that the mothers choose a selfish strategy, which can in turn ensure higher lifetime reproductive success, while depriving the current litter access to better resources. These results have interesting implications for understanding the social dynamics of the dogs, and the emergence of facultative sociality in a species that evolved from strongly social ancestors. We speculate that the tendency of increased conflict in resource-rich conditions might have driven the process of domestication in the ancestors of dogs which defected from their groups in favour of richer resources around human settlements.

Graphical representations of the models for mother’s strategy where y representing the conflict and x representing the conflict period vary between 0 and 1. (a) The selfish strategy: mother reserves a fixed amount of food for her offspring and takes any extra food for herself. Line 1 is conflict for food F, and line 2 is conflict for food F′, where F′>F (F represents the total food available to the mother, whereas F′ represents the more nutritious food than the food F, available to the mother). (b) The altruistic strategy: mother reserves a fixed amount of food for herself and allows the pups to have the rest. Line 1 is conflict for food F, and line 2 is conflict for food F′, where F′ > F

Origin and expansion of feral cats in Australia

Spencer, P. B., Yurchenko, A. A., David, V. A., Scott, R., Koepfli, K. P., Driscoll, C., O’Brien, S.J. & Menotti-Raymond, M. (2015). The Population Origins and Expansion of Feral Cats in Australia. Journal of Heredity, esv095.

The historical literature suggests that in Australia, the domestic cat (Felis catus) had a European origin [~200 years before present (ybp)], but it is unclear if cats arrived from across the Asian land bridge contemporaneously with the dingo (4000 ybp), or perhaps immigrated ~40000 ybp in association with Aboriginal settlement from Asia. The origin of cats in Australia is important because the continent has a complex and ancient faunal assemblage that is dominated by endemic rodents and marsupials and lacks the large placental carnivores found on other large continents. Cats are now ubiquitous across the entire Australian continent and have been implicit in the range contraction or extinction of its small to medium sized (<3.5kg) mammals. We analyzed the population structure of 830 cats using 15 short tandem repeat (STR) genomic markers. Their origin appears to come exclusively from European founders. Feral cats in continental Australia exhibit high genetic diversity in comparison with the low diversity found in populations of feral cats living on islands. The genetic structure is consistent with a rapid westerly expansion from eastern Australia and a limited expansion in coastal Western Australia. Australian cats show modest if any population structure and a close genetic alignment with European feral cats as compared to cats from Asia, the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Indian Ocean), and European wildcats (F. silvestris silvestris).

Saturday 19 December 2015

Tourists’ perceptions of the stray dog population of Bhutan

Strickland, P. C. (2015). It’sa Dog’s Life: International tourists’ perceptions of the stray dog population of Bhutan. Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(12).

This study investigates the international tourists’ perception of the stray dog population of Bhutan as little or no mention of the increasing stray dog population and their impact on tourism has been documented. After personally visiting the Kingdom on many occasions, it is evident that the stray dog population is increasing in dog numbers in major cities. The problems arising are negative comments by tourists relating to the stray dog population that are starting to appear in social media that may impact the visitor experience and the perception of Bhutan’s tourism industry. Veterinary science is aware of both increasing dog populations and the control of diseases such as Rabies however the author can find no evidence regarding challenges for the tourism industry. The problem is aided by no local veterinary clinics, no laws regarding dog governance, little funding for sterilization programs and being predominately a Buddhist country that cannot ‘cull’ animals. Using qualitative analysis from international tourist focus groups who were visiting Bhutan, this study highlights the perceptions of tourists regarding the stray dog population and how it may impact on visitor expectations. The paper suggests options that local government, Bhutanese nationals and visitors can do to assist the issue based on visitor feedback. Future research may include comparisons with other cities or countries to examine if it is a global issue or unique to Bhutan.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Society's perception of the life quality and population control of stray dogs

Moutinho, F. F. B., Nascimento, E. R. D., & Paixão, R. L. (2015). THE SOCIETY’S PERCEPTION OF THE LIFE QUALITY AND POPULATION CONTROL OF STRAY DOGS. Ciência Animal Brasileira, 16(4), 574-588.

In most Brazilian municipalities there is an overpopulation of stray dogs, which causes problems to the urban order, the environment and the public health, in addition to mistreatment to these dogs. In such context we foresee the need of developing actions targeting the population control of these animals. This essay aims at knowing the perception of social actors, such as managers of entities responsible for control actions, managers of NGOs working with animal protection and population in general with respect to the life quality and population control of stray dogs. Questionnaires were used on samples of individuals of these three groups and the data thereof were analyzed with descriptive statistics techniques and frequency comparison. The results allowed us to conclude that the society’s perception of population control and life quality of these animals bear important differences under the viewpoint of the three evaluated groups; however, they also bear significant similarities, especially with respect to the perception of the responsibility for the development of population control actions, the acceptance of using public funds intended to public health in control actions, the classification of such population density as large and the poor life quality of these animals.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Current and future options in fertility control of dogs and cats

Weedon, G. R., & Fischer, A. 2015. Surgery Not Required: Current and Future Options in Fertility Control of Dogs and Cats.
There is a long road from demonstrating that a certain contraceptive approach can suppress fertility in a dog or a cat, and achieving regulatory approval for a product that can be marketed. Although some approaches can be shown to be safe and effective, the time and technical expertise required for developing a manufacturing process that can be scaled up and result in a stable, reproducible product is often the main obstacle to regulatory approval. Regardless, the need exists for products to help with animal population control worldwide. As new tools are developed to prevent animal reproduction, countless lives will be spared in shelters and on the street. 

Saturday 5 December 2015

Defining priorities for dog population management through mathematical modeling

Baquero, O. S., Akamine, L. A., Amaku, M., & Ferreira, F. (2015). Defining priorities for dog population management through mathematical modeling. Preventive veterinary medicine.

We simulated dog population dynamics for a thirty-years period using a logistic growth model. Through sensitivity analyses, we determined the influence of the parameters used in the model. Carrying capacity was the most influential parameter in all simulations. In the owned-dog population, the influence of immigration, abandonment and births was 19%, 16% and 6% of the influence of the carrying capacity, respectively. In the sterilized owned-dog population, the influence of abandonment, female and male sterilization was 37%, 30% and 27% of the influence of the carrying capacity. In the stray population, the influence of abandonment, carrying capacity of the owned-dog population and adoption was 10%, 9% and 6% of the influence of the carrying capacity. In the sterilized stray population, the influence of births, female sterilization and male sterilization was 45%, 15% and 13% of the influence of the carrying capacity. Other parameters had lower influence values. Modification of the carrying capacity requires different interventions for the owned- and stray-dog populations. Dog trade control is a way to reduce immigration. The evaluation of sterilization effects must focus on the variations in the infertile population fraction. Adoption may improve the effects of the reduction in carrying capacity on the stray-dog population.
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