This project will deploy Mataki devices on dogs to:
(1) Assess the hunting catchment areas of semi-subsistence communities along the Jurua River of Western Brazilian Amazonia and relate this to measures of game vertebrate depletion and
(2) Estimate the impact of semi-feral and feral dogs within forest reserves across the Brazilian Amazon.
Domestic dogs are a widely used, but largely overlooked hunting technology. They are important to consider because they cover far more ground per trip than their owners, cause additional disturbance through their noise and scent, greatly increase the efficiency of the hunters who use them and kill and consume an additional component of animal prey.
Routes taken by dogs hunting within forests around riverine communities in the Médio Juruá region of Amazonas will be mapped over a six month period. This will enable estimation of the spatial impact of human subsistence hunting, in terms of the total extent and intensity of hunting per unit area. These results will be related to human and ecological variables such as community size, wildlife depletion envelopes and forest productivity, to explore what drives the spatial patterns of hunting forays of hunters assisted by domestic dogs. This in turn will inform game management policy applied to extractive and sustainable use forest reserves in lowland Amazonia.
Over and above the disturbance effects of hunting dogs owned by villagers within forest reserves, several semi-feral and feral dog populations are well established throughout the Amazonian and Cerrado biomes of Brazil. These dog populations are often close to human settlements, yet can be self-sufficient in terms of prey acquisition. Their forays into nearby forest areas constitute an additional pressure exerted by human settlements which could be defined as an “edge effect”, further reducing the ecological value of the non-forest matrix. By studying the movements of dogs within the rainforest, it will be possible to better understand the magnitude of this threat.
Project lead institution: