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A review of the interactions between free-roaming domestic dogs and wildlife
- Hughes, Joelene, Macdonald, David W.
- Biological conservation 2013 v.157 pp. 341-351
- biodiversity, biologists, carnivores, databases, disease transmission, dogs, domestic animals, economics, experts, human health, human population, hybridization, islands, predation, rabies, social benefit, wildlife
- Negative impacts from the presence of domestic animals pose particular issues for biodiversity conservation as they are intimately tied to the economic, social and political values of local people, requiring interdisciplinary cooperation for successful outcomes. Despite domestic dogs being widespread there is little information on the scale and scope of any conservation problems they may cause. Dog management is already carried out by human health and welfare groups in order to improve welfare and reduce disease spread, primarily rabies. By reviewing information about interactions between dogs and wildlife, this paper aims to provide a clear summary of current knowledge and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration between conservation biologists and other experts.Data from dog population and human population studies indicate that the global domestic dog population abundance is over 700 million. Studies on interactions between free-roaming dogs and wildlife were gathered from searches of seven online databases and other sources. In total, 69 peer-reviewed studies were found. The wildlife taxon mainly studied was mammals (78%) and the main interaction recorded was predation by domestic dogs, followed by disease transmission, wildlife disturbance, hybridization and predation of dogs by wild carnivores. Conservation issues with domestic dogs were recorded from around the world, both on islands and continents. Suggestions of solutions were limited, or not offered, beyond extermination which, given the close relationship between local people and dogs, may not often be appropriate. We propose some steps that will aid cooperation between conservationists and other sectors and enhance the effectiveness of conservation activities.