26 January 2020

The Washington Post: “The dog is one of the world’s most destructive mammals. Brazil proves it”

“The global impacts of domestic dogs on wildlife are grossly underestimated”, researchers concluded in a 2017 study published in the journal Biological Conservation. The researchers, based in Australia, convicted dogs in the extinction of 11 species and declared them the third-most-damaging mammal, behind only cats and rodents.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a list of animals whose numbers dogs are culling. There are 191, and more than half are classified as either endangered or vulnerable. They range from lowly iguanas to the famed Tasmanian devil, from doves to monkeys, a diversity of animals with nothing in common beyond the fact that dogs enjoy killing them. In New Zealand, the organization reported, a single German shepherd once did in as many as 500 kiwis — and that was the conservative estimate.

“Unfortunately, we have a big problem”, said Piero Genovesi, chair of the agency’s invasive species unit. “There is a growing number of dogs.”

Terrence McCoy

Another example of disruption of the environment caused by invasive species introduced by humans – this time on a larger scale, because the number of pets is much higher and they are present basically everywhere alongside people. Keeping cats and dogs around the house was good practice in rural societies, where they would cull rodents and help shepherding livestock, but it makes little sense in an urban environment. I find it fascinating that so many of us are still attached to the notion of keeping predators around as pets.

Fig. 1. Study area (Tijuca National Park) with Brazil and Rio de Janeiro insetted (TNP is represented with a black star into the Rio de Janeiro inset). Park area is showed in gray as well as his sectors: (A) Floresta da Tijuca (where the study was carried out), (B) Serra da Carioca, (C) Pedra Bonita/Pedra da Gávea and (D) Pretos-Forros/Covanca. Within the Floresta da Tijuca sector, black dots denotes camera trap stations that detected domestic dog presence, white dots denotes camera trap stations that did not detect domestic dogs. Gray lines are paved roads located inside and around the Park.
Source: Who let the dogs out? Occurrence, population size and daily activity of domestic dogs in an urban Atlantic Forest reserve

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