Tag Archives: top-predator

The global impacts of domestic dogs on threatened vertebrates

Authors: Tim S Doherty, Chris R Dickman, Alistair S Glen, Thomas M Newsome, Dale G Nimmo, Euan G Ritchie, Abi T Vanak, Aaron J Wirsinge

Published in: Biological Conservation, volume 210 (June 2017)

Abstract

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have a near-global distribution. They range from being feral and free-ranging to owned and completely dependent on humans. All types of domestic dogs can interact with wildlife and have severe negative impacts on biodiversity.

Here, we use IUCN Red List data to quantify the number of threatened species negatively impacted by dogs, assess the prevalence of different types of dog impact, and identify regional hotspots containing high numbers of impacted species. Using this information, we highlight key research and management gaps and priorities.

Domestic dogs have contributed to 11 vertebrate extinctions and are a known or potential threat to at least 188 threatened species worldwide. These estimates are greater than those reported by previous assessments, but are probably conservative due to biases in the species, regions and types of impacts studied and/or reported.

Percentage of extinct or threatened vertebrate species that are, or were, affected by different types of dog impact.

Predation is the most frequently reported impact, followed by disturbance, disease transmission, competition, and hybridisation. Regions with the most species impacted are: South-east Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Asia (excluding SE), Micro/Mela/Polynesia, and Australia.

We propose that the impacts of domestic dogs can be better understood and managed through: taxonomic and spatial prioritisation of research and management; examining potential synergisms between dogs and other threatening processes; strategic engagement with animal welfare and human health campaigns; community engagement and education; and mitigating anthropogenic effects such as resource subsidies. Such actions are essential for threatened species persistence, especially given that human and dog populations are expected to increase both numerically and geographically in the coming decades.

Doherty TS, Dickman CR, Glen AS, Newsome TM, Nimmo DG, Ritchie EG, Vanak AT, Wirsing AJ (2017) The global impacts of domestic dogs on threatened vertebrates. Biological Conservation, PDF DOI 

Stop jumping the gun: A call for evidence-based invasive predator management

Authors: Tim S Doherty and Euan G Ritchie

Published in: Conservation Letters (early access)

Abstract

Invasive mammalian predators are major drivers of species extinctions globally.

To protect native prey, lethal control is often used with the aim of reducing or exterminating invasive predator populations. The efficacy of this practice however is often not considered despite multiple practical and ecological factors that can limit success.

Here, we summarise contemporary knowledge regarding the use and challenges of lethal control and alternative approaches for reducing invasive predator impacts.

As the prevailing management approach, we outline four key issues that can compromise the effectiveness of lethal control: release of herbivore and mesopredator populations; disruption of predator social systems; compensatory predator immigration; and ethical concerns.

We then discuss the relative merits and limitations of four alternative approaches that may enhance conservation practitioner’s ability to effectively manage invasive predators: top-predator conservation or reintroduction; maintaining habitat complexity; exclusion fencing; and behavioural and evolutionary ecology.

Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the effectiveness of management approaches in different environmental contexts.

We propose that the deficiencies and uncertainties outlined here can be addressed through a combination of adaptive management, expert elicitation, and cost-benefit analyses.

Improved management of invasive predators requires greater consideration and assessment of the full range of management approaches available.

Doherty TS, Ritchie EG (2016) Stop jumping the gun: A call for evidence-based invasive predator management. Conservation Letters PDF DOI