Livestock guarding dogs enable human-carnivore coexistence: first evidence of equivalent carnivore occupancy on guarded and unguarded farms

Spencer, K., Sambrook, M., Bremner-Harrison, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-4770-1376, Cilliers, D., Yarnell, R.W. ORCID: 0000-0001-6584-7374, Brummer, R. and Whitehouse-Tedd, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0061-489X, 2020. Livestock guarding dogs enable human-carnivore coexistence: first evidence of equivalent carnivore occupancy on guarded and unguarded farms. Biological Conservation, 241: 108526. ISSN 0006-3207

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Abstract

Livestock guarding dogs (LGDs) are advocated to reduce livestock depredation on agricultural lands. However, LGDs have been proposed as excluding carnivores from guarded farms; this study is the first to test this hypothesis in an African ecosystem. We investigated carnivore occupancy (black-backed jackal, leopard and brown hyaena) from 1029 camera-trap days (126 camera locations) in relation to the presence of LGDs and a range of habitat and land-use covariates across eight South African farms, five of which utilised an LGD. Models containing LGDs had little support in explaining leopard or black backed jackal occupancy, although LGD presence had a positive relationship with brown hyaena occupancy (β = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.05, 2.23). Leopard detection was positively related to the presence of black-backed jackals (β = 1.47, 95% CI = 0.18, 2.74) and sheep (β = 1.13, 95% CI = 0.14, 2.12), whilst black-backed jackal detection was negatively related to lures (β = -1.33, 95% CI = -2.00, -0.65) and positively related to the presence of brown hyaena (β = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.43, 1.40). Previous research in this LGD population has demonstrated the cessation of livestock depredation in 91% of cases, making dog ineffectiveness unlikely to explain their lack of influence on carnivore occupancy. Our results provide the first empirical evidence based on ecological data of the capacity for LGDs to promote human-carnivore coexistence in an African agricultural context, further validating the use of specialist guarding dogs as a conservation tool of benefit to both human and wildlife populations.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Biological Conservation
Creators: Spencer, K., Sambrook, M., Bremner-Harrison, S., Cilliers, D., Yarnell, R.W., Brummer, R. and Whitehouse-Tedd, K.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: January 2020
Volume: 241
ISSN: 0006-3207
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108256DOI
1119075Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 23 Sep 2019 11:07
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2020 15:16
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37739

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