The Curious Nature of Alevi Lore

It’s already been speculated and suspected that (whilst depending on the community and individual), Alevi Islam seems to have far more in more with Judaism as well as Russian/Slavic and Greek folklore in addition to Hinduism than it does with normal Turkish Islam. Maybe not necessarily too different but still distinctive enough to be somewhat dubious and curious. If I’m not mistaken, even cats are considered dirty among Alevi Muslims.

There’s a strong parallel to it in both Medieval Irish Christianity and Hinduism as well as the Romani communities. Likewise, bad people are thought to reincarnate as dogs. This is also found among the Greeks, Hindus and some Slavic communities. Another possible smoking gun’s that some Alevi Turks are assumed to be crypto-Christians and crypto-Armenians. Armenia was historically part of Turkey and if some were persecuted, unsurprisingly they’d go into hiding and try to pass as normal Muslims.

Whether or not Armenian folklore actually influenced Alevism’s up to anybody’s guess but still some strains of Islam (especially the odd ones) are thought to be influenced by Hinduism and Zoroastrianism (religions associated with the Indo-Aryans) so it might not be a stretch for Alevism to be influenced by Indo-European folklore. That’s if those beliefs closely resemble those of Greeks, Russians and Armenians (the Black Sea helps as well as living in hiding).

Wolfish Escapism

Like I said, idealism involves something that’s close to but still far removed from reality as to avoid being too damning, too close for comfort. (I’ve been through it so.) If somebody were to consider dogs to be wolves (and they are) but when brought up with the recent revelation that dogs are the third worst invasive species (though that’s been long suspected, even by European hunters) it’s going to be really uncomfortable.

It’s like if some wolf fanatics don’t want to be reminded of ideas that wolves are savage predators and if dogs are also both confirmed to be wolves themselves and equally capable of predation, these are things they’re ultimately uncomfortable about. It could be about anything else really (as I know from experience). It seems my opinion about what constitutes as idealism still holds true.

Especially if it’s wanting something that is but also isn’t quite like that other thing as to keep reality at bay. That’s if the reality’s too damning.

Poland, where are you?

Poland did exist at some point or another before though admittedly I’m not that intimated with it. What I do know is that at some point it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, then parts of it became part of the Russian Empire (eventually at some point, Poland became a Soviet satellite). Also part of Poland was part of the German Empire*.

It’s not that Poland culturally didn’t exist but geographically speaking, it was practically at the crossroads between (or at the mercy of) its immediate neighbours. For awhile it was part of Russia, then Germany and now on its own. Admittedly that’s almost all I know about it, pardon if I’m wrong. Though I do know Poland was at some point or another subjected to Russian and German influences so.

*If it sounds odd, the infamous porn star Peter Berlin was born there.

Things I don’t get in illustrations

Bulky werewolves: It’s like if you compare wolves to bears, the former are much more gracile (there’s a reason why among gays, the word ‘bear’ is often almost always used to refer to hairy, fat gay men). Let’s not also forget that hunter-gatherers, though fit, don’t have massive muscles either. So it seems the bulky werewolf’s bound to be ridiculous by accident, especially when compared to both actual wolves and hunter-gatherers.

Age=Height: Whilst that would be true for most of the part, however it’s also a lot more complicated. Assuming if one parent is tall and the other parent’s short, the first child’s short and the second one’s tall. So logically and parsimoniously, the younger sibling’s taller than the former. (Inevitably and usually with men, they are taller than women so an younger brother can become taller than his sister). Add in gigantism and it screws things up.

The Behavioural Biology of Dogs (Extrait/Excerpt)

The Behaviour of Feral Dogs
The behaviour and ecology of feral dogs result from the complex interaction
of a suite of biological traits which still resemble those of their ancestors (wolves),
152 L. Boitani et al.
especially concerning their ecological flexibility and the great variety of artificial
and natural environments that they can live in. Many of the ancestral traits, such
as a group-living tendency, territoriality, predatory instincts and a large degree of
ecological flexibility, are still evident in the dogs’ biology, but most of these traits
appear void of their original adaptive value and may represent ‘evolutionary
inertia’ or artificial selection epiphenomena (Boitani and Ciucci, 1995). If the
process of domestication had the effect of enhancing the behavioural and ecological flexibility that allowed dogs to survive in a wide range of semi-natural environments, it also reduced their overall fitness to cope with long-term wild habitat
conditions (Price, 1984). Feral dogs are generally not reproductively self-sustaining: they suffer from high rates of juvenile mortality; they depend indirectly upon
humans for food, co-opting new individuals, and space; and their demography
appears dominated by stochastic and unpredictable mechanisms (Boitani et al.,
1995). Most studies of feral dogs’ behaviour and ecology have been carried out on
individuals which had been feral only for a few generations, and thus these generalizations may not apply to feral dogs such as dingoes and pariah dogs, which
have been living under the effects of natural selection forces for longer periods of
time.
Social ecology
The social structure of feral dogs is an aggregation of monogamous breeding pairs
and their associates (pups and/or subadults of pair members), which is substantially different from the highly structured hierarchy of wolf packs, where dominance is respected both in terms of privilege (e.g. ‘pecking order’) and initiative
(e.g. travelling, hunting, territorial defence, reproduction, etc.) (Mech and
Boitani, 2003). Wolves’ pack size is regulated also through social control of reproducing individuals (Packard, 2003), a mechanism which is apparently absent in
dogs (Boitani et al., 1995). Intraspecific agonistic behaviour of feral dogs seems to
be restricted primarily at the individual level without extensive effects on the
social organization of the group, such as forcing a hierarchy and building a robust
cohesiveness among group members. Scott and Fuller (1965) suggested that the
agonistic behaviour of dogs toward humans is strongly influenced by their early
contacts with humans and this might be particularly relevant when interpreting
the behaviour of feral dogs recruited from the house and stray categories.
Therefore, observations of feral dog behaviour without knowledge of the complete individual history of all group members are not sufficient to understand the
causes and mechanisms of intraspecific relationships.
Members of feral dogs’ groups are generally not related (Scott and Causey,
1973; Nesbitt, 1975; Causey and Cude, 1980; Berman and Dunbar, 1983;
Daniels and Bekoff, 1989a, b; Boitani et al., 1995). The basic social unit
is the breeding pair but the social bond is only loosely extended to the rest of the
group members without the complex rules that regulate pack life in most wild
canids (Kleiman and Eisenberg, 1973; Bekoff et al., 1984; Gittleman, 1989). In
Behaviour and Social Ecology of Free-ranging Dogs 153
particular, the differences with wolf packs, which are highly cohesive one-family
units that hunt, rear young and protect a communal territory as a stable group
(Mech and Boitani, 2003), are obvious and prompted Boitani and Ciucci (1995)
to propose the term ‘group’, as more appropriate than pack, for a feral dogs’
social unit. Most studies of feral dogs found that group size ranges from two to six
animals (two to five in Alabama: Scott and Causey, 1973; two to six in Alabama:
Causey and Cude, 1980; two to four in Arizona: Daniels and Bekoff, 1989b; five
to six in Illinois: Nesbitt, 1975; three to six in Italy: Boitani et al., 1995), in contrast with the smaller social unit of neighbourhood/village dogs, which are
reported mostly in pairs or alone (see above on village/neighbourhood dogs).
Macdonald (1983) suggested that in carnivores the quantity and distribution of
food resources are the main determinants of group size. In wolves, pack size
appears to be affected primarily by prey abundance, as changes in prey availability correspond to proportional changes in pack size (Mech and Boitani, 2003). It
could be speculated that neighbourhood/village dogs would have little advantage
from living in groups because resources are more scarce and scattered than those
available to feral dogs, but also because cooperative ‘hunting’ would not be an
advantage when resources are plentiful and easy to obtain. Also, lack of natural
predators or competitors in human settings would not offer particular advantages
to larger groups of stray dogs (cf. Macdonald and Carr, 1995), a situation that
could be different in the case of feral dogs. However, even if studies with accurate
estimates of food resources were available, any attempt to draw theoretical generalizations would be little more than a speculation, as we believe that theoretical
analyses of canid evolutionary strategies are of limited value when carried out on
animals which have been living under both artificial and natural selection pressures.
Boitani et al. (1995) reported that in their study area garbage dumps supplied
food in excess during all seasons, and group size appeared to be related more to
social factors, such as group turnover, rather than ecological ones, even though
communal resource defence against wolves and other feral dog groups could have
been a factor. Although no evidence of any intrinsic regulatory mechanism was
found, the size of the feral dog group studied in Italy between 1984 and 1987
remained fairly stable (Boitani et al., 1995), and all events affecting group size
appeared mostly due to density-independent and external factors (i.e. casual
human persecution, availability of stray dogs, climatic conditions, etc.) with the
sole exception of the cooption of stray dogs into the group (see below). Mortality
of most sexually mature individuals was caused by human interference, while
newborns from feral parents contributed almost nil to long-term group stability.
Group size was maintained stable only by recruiting new members from the
village dog population; at the end of the study, all but one dog in the group were
of stray origin. Recruitment of village dogs into the feral group occurred mostly
(but not only) during the breeding period and in conjunction with the disruption
of a breeding pair. A single adult, after loosing its mate, would actively coopt
another sexually mature dog, and this new member would in turn become
socially accepted by the entire feral group. Thus, under the conditions studied by
154 L. Boitani et al.
Boitani et al. (1995) the ‘vacancy’ in a pair bond seems to be the main mechanism
triggering cooption, although more data are needed from different ecological
contexts to allow for meaningful generalizations.
One related interesting question, which remains unanswered, concerns the
mechanisms, if any, that regulate the upper limit of group size in feral dogs. It
may be speculated that given unlimited resources the lack of a firm social hierarchy and strong social bonds poses no upper limit to the number of feral dogs that
can associate in a group. However, if functionality (in hunting, territorial defence,
offspring care, etc.) is a prerequisite for the existence of an effective unit, then an
upper limit appears to be naturally imposed by the costs of enduring effective
cooperation. Since dogs form less efficient functional units compared to wolves,
this might in part explain the smaller size of feral dog groups (Scott and Causey,
1973; Nesbitt, 1975; Causey and Cude, 1980; Daniels and Bekoff, 1989b; Boitani
and Ciucci, 1995; Boitani et al., 1995). Moreover, the social structure of feral dogs
may not allow for an efficient density-dependent mechanism of population regulation in relation to environmental and ecological conditions, making feral dog
groups more susceptible to stochastic events and limiting factors. Even when predictable and abundant food resources are available to feral dogs, the higher
number of females reproducing per group, with their di-oestrous cycle and overall
negative energetic balance, the lack of non-reproducing ‘auxiliaries’, and the high
pup/juvenile mortality all interact to determine low recruitment rates and to
maintain group size through external recruitment. In feral dogs, therefore, group
size and composition appear to be a function of food abundance and availability
of potentially cooptable village dogs at the lower end and, at the other extreme,
of individual dogs’ physiology and social behaviour, which hardly translates into
functional and cohesive larger groups.
Home-range and territoriality
Feral dogs spend most of their life within well-defined home-ranges whose internal portions (core areas) are often defended against intruders, although their territorial behaviour is highly variable depending on several environmental and
human-related causes (Scott and Causey, 1973; Causey and Cude, 1980; Gipson,
1983; Daniels and Bekoff, 1989a; Boitani et al., 1995; Meek, 1999). Home-range
sizes obtained by radio-telemetry studies range from 4.4–10.4 km2 for three
groups in east-central Alabama (Scott and Causey, 1973), to 18.7 km2 in Alabama
(Causey and Cude, 1980), 57.8 km2 in central Italy (Boitani et al., 1995) and 70
km2 in Alaska (Gipson, 1983). Home-range size does not appear to be closely
related to group size, but rather is dependent on the spatial patterns of key
resource sites, such as denning areas, refuge areas, garbage dumps and other food
sources. Dogs may show seasonal variations in patterns of range utilization, using
smaller portions at different times. Daniels and Bekoff (1989a) and Scott and
Causey (1973) related these core-area variations to the presence of dependent
pups and to different energetic requirements of the group. In contrast, Boitani
Behaviour and Social Ecology of Free-ranging Dogs 155
et al. (1995) found that several other factors could possibly be involved in shifting
of the core areas within the home-range: the exploitation of temporary food
resources (i.e. a large livestock carrion), disturbance caused by humans, denning
activities, previous spatial-use patterns of newly recruited dogs, unpredictable
fluctuation in food availability at dumps, and possible interference by wolves. In
the same study, it was suggested that shifting of core areas and seasonal ranges
were not necessarily only a consequence of direct environmental changes, in fact
previous knowledge of the area by a new member of the group could affect the
entire group’s spatial behaviour.
Home-range sizes tend to become smaller in neighbourhood/village dogs
living closer to or within areas inhabited by humans (from 2–11 ha up to 61 ha)
(Beck, 1973; Fox et al., 1975; Berman and Dunbar, 1983; Daniels, 1983a;
Santamaria et al., 1990), confirming that predictability and quantity of food
sources as well as small group sizes are among the determinants of ranging behaviour. In feral dogs, home-ranges, or parts of them, especially core areas, food
sources and den sites, are actively defended using scent marking, vocalizations
(barking) and aggressive behaviour. Both Macdonald and Carr (1995) and
Boitani et al. (1995) reported for the same study area in central Italy that defensive behaviour was consistently shown within the entire core areas and during the
whole year. The higher frequency of territorial behaviour found in Italy compared to other studies (Scott and Fuller, 1965; Bekoff, 1979; Berman and Dunbar,
1983; Boitani and Racana, 1984; Daniels and Bekoff, 1989a) might be related to
a higher level of integration within the group, a higher degree of isolation from
other dogs, and to food resources being concentrated mostly in localized patches
at the dumps. In addition, an unknown effect might be due to the typical range
defending behaviour of the Maremma dog, a large guarding dog breed which was
the dominant type of that feral group (Boitani et al., 1995). Interspecific territorial
behaviour among wild canids is known to occur (e.g. coyote–wolf, fox–coyote)
and it should be expected in dogs and wolves that share the same ranges. In
central Italy, dogs and wolves share an almost identical niche and compete for the
same food resources (Boitani, 1983), but their territories only partially overlap
(Boitani et al., 1995). In Abruzzo, the territorial core-areas of feral dogs were
closer to human settlements where wolf presence was lowest, and they were
located in the interstice between two neighbouring wolf territories (Boitani et al.,
1995). These observations suggest that wolves in that particular area might have
been an important component in shaping feral dogs’ territory and in determining
its location in relation to human settings.
In contrast to house and village dogs, feral dogs are most definitively active
during nocturnal and crepuscular periods with a clear tendency for a bimodal
activity pattern, similar to other wild canids (Perry and Giles, 1971; Scott and
Causey, 1973; Causey and Cude, 1980; Boitani and Racana, 1984; Daniels and
Bekoff, 1989a; Boitani et al., 1995). Nevertheless, Nesbitt (1975) and Boitani et al.
(1995) found that dogs could also travel during daytime, when human presence
and interference is low, suggesting that feral dogs adopt nocturnal habits essentially to avoid, or minimize, human contacts. However, a great variety of wild
156 L. Boitani et al.
carnivores show a bimodal pattern of activity, and it has been hypothesized that
this innate behavioural trait is independent from environmental pressures and has
not been altered to a great extent by artificial selection on dogs.
Food sources, hunting and predation
Given their social structure and their adaptability to a variety of habitats, it seems
obvious to expect that feral dogs would display a diversified feeding ecology and
include a wide range of food items in their diet. While in wolves the social structure of packs integrates all members in an efficient hunting unit, in feral dog
groups leadership is more questionable and social bonds among individuals are
more flexible, which might contribute to the inefficiency of feral dogs as predators compared to their wild canine counterparts (Scott and Causey, 1973; Nesbitt,
1975; Causey and Cude, 1980; Daniels and Bekoff, 1989b; Boitani et al., 1995;
Macdonald and Carr, 1995; Butler et al., 2004). A variety of other factors can
influence their feeding behaviour, such as group size and breed types, relative
abundance and accessibility of wildlife and livestock, the level of human control
and the availability of garbage dumps and alternate food sources easy to exploit.
Group members’ cultural traditions might also exert great influence on the
group’s feeding behaviour, determining hunting attitudes and ability as well as
prey-type preference.
Feral dogs have long been accused of preying on wildlife and livestock and
causing serious damage in a variety of geographic areas (see review in Boitani and
Ciucci, 1995), but the supporting evidence is surprisingly scarce. Several studies
(e.g. Scott and Causey, 1973; Nesbitt, 1975; Boitani et al., 1995) failed to document livestock depredation in spite of free-ranging livestock available to feral dogs
in most of the study areas. Instead, as documented by Boitani et al. (1995) and
Nesbitt (1975), livestock depredations were caused by free-ranging neighbourhood/village/stray dogs. Further evidence has been obtained to support feral
dogs’ predation on wildlife (i.e. deer, wild boar, hare, rabbit, etc.), although all
studies failed to document any serious impact on wildlife populations (Perry and
Giles, 1971; Scott and Causey, 1973; Gipson and Sealander, 1977; Causey and
Cude, 1980; Federoff et al., 1994; Boitani et al., 1995; Herranz et al., 2000; Rouys
and Theuerkauf, 2003; Butler et al., 2004). In Zimbabwe, Butler and du Toit
(2002) found that dogs were primarily scavengers of human waste and animal carcasses, roaming into nature reserves and outcompeting other wild scavengers.
Although predation on deer and boar populations might be of little management
significance, feral dogs have been reported to prey on many endangered and rare
species, causing serious conservation concerns: marine iguanas in the Galápagos
Islands (Kruuk and Snell, 1981; Barnett and Rudd, 1983); capybaras in
Venezuela’s llanos (Macdonald, 1981); Indian porcupines in India (Chhangani,
2003); leatherback turtles on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian
Ocean (Andrews and Shanker, 2003); mountain gazelles in central Arabia
(Dunham, 2001); and sable antelopes in Africa (Dott, 1986). Finally, in one report
Behaviour and Social Ecology of Free-ranging Dogs 157
Kamler et al. (2003) observed three feral dogs successfully attacking and killing a
coyote, perhaps during an interspecific territorial dispute.
On the basis of all reviewed studies it seems reasonable to conclude that feral
dogs show a generally low predatory attitude, a low kill rate (efficiency of predation), have potential limits in prey size and are indirectly dependent on humans
for food. Notwithstanding the inherent weaknesses of their predatory behaviour,
feral dogs can be a serious nuisance to local farmers and a threat to protected
wildlife despite efforts to control their numbers, especially in protected areas
(Johnson, 2002).
Breeding, denning and parental care
Of all traits affected by artificial selection, reproduction has been strongly manipulated to increase reproductive potential and to shorten generation time in dogs
(Boitani and Ciucci, 1995). In the feral group studied by Boitani et al. (1995), all
females reproduced giving the group full potential for demographic increase.
Domestic dogs usually breed twice a year with little or no seasonal patterns, but
feral dogs tend to concentrate their oestrus cycles in the spring in northern temperate environments (Gipson, 1972; Daniels and Bekoff, 1989b), and in the
autumn, or post-monsoon period, in India (Chawla and Reece, 2002; Pal, 2003).
Boitani et al. (1995) found on average 7.3 months (range 6.5–10 months) between
oestrus periods; 50% of births occurred during February–May, whereas the
others were scattered during the rest of the year. The spring peak of births is
common and has obvious adaptive value among wild canids and many other
wildlife species in the northern hemisphere. In feral dogs it might just be the
remnant of an ancestral endogenous reproductive rhythm without any current
adaptive value. More interesting is the lack of synchronization of the breeding
females in the feral group found by Boitani et al. (1995), and the casual distribution throughout the year of the other ‘non-spring’ oestrus cycles, which might be
resulting from artificial selection and disconnecting reproductive rhythms from
natural photoperiod synchronization and social control (but see Macdonald and
Carr, 1995).
In the same study, there was no indication of communal care of litters by the
group and all females reared their pups alone, although they were often visited by
other group members. Females located their dens near the group’s traditional
core areas and spent most of their time at the den but frequently visited the closest
feeding sources. Even though food was abundant throughout the denning period,
the lack of group members’ support, in terms of vigilance and protection of the
pups, during the mothers’ frequent absences might have contributed to the high
rate of infant mortality due to predation (Boitani et al., 1995). Daniels (1988) and
Daniels and Bekoff (1989b) reported that breeding females split from the group,
denned and reared pups in isolation, though in the vicinity of the group.
Alloparental care seems to be an adaptive behaviour in many social wild canids
because it relieves the female from the burden of caring for her pups alone and it
158 L. Boitani et al.
may increase protection from intruders and predators. Dogs appear to be the only
canids without any form of paternal care (Macdonald and Carr, 1995), although
Malm (1995) found that a substantial proportion of family-owned male dogs participate in caring for the pups, mainly by providing regurgitated food.
Domestication and human assistance to reproduction might have played a significant role in altering parental behaviours as well as eliminating most of the social
control on reproduction within the group.
In feral dogs, litter sizes range from 3.6 pups/litter (n = 11, Boitani et al.,
1995) to 5.5 pups/litter (n = 17, Macdonald and Carr, 1995), but pup survival
rates are very low. Boitani et al. (1995) found that out of 40 pups, 28 (70%) died
within 70 days of birth, nine (22.5%) died within 120 days, one (2.5%) within 1
year, and only two (5%) survived the age of 1 year. Similar results have been
obtained from other studies (Scott and Causey, 1973; Nesbitt, 1975; Daniels and
Bekoff, 1989b; Macdonald and Carr, 1995). Most mortality seems to occur
during the period of early independence and may be due to: (i) the absence of
communal helping and increased risks of predation when pups are left unattended, and when they begin to explore the areas surrounding the den site; (ii) a
lowered maternal interest in offspring as the mother enters a new oestrus cycle; or
(iii) hostile environmental conditions for litters born in periods other than spring
or early summer. In short, the reproductive traits selected in domestic dogs are of
low adaptive value back in the wild, where feral dogs suffer from a very inefficient
reproductive mechanism, which tries to maximize production while minimizing
newborn and juvenile survival (often less than 5% surviving to 1 year of age) to
the point that feral populations appear unable to sustain themselves. In central
Italy, the feral dogs in Boitani et al.’s (1995) study could not have maintained their
numbers without continuously recruiting new group members from neighbourhood/village/stray dogs’ populations.
Finally, a curious and so far unexplained aspect of feral dogs’ demography is
the often reported highly skewed sex ratio in favour of males. While in village
dogs there might be an important effect of selective removal of females, in feral
dogs it is difficult to expect a differential mortality rate for the two sexes outside
artificial human interference. Boitani et al. (1995) found the overall litter composition highly skewed in favour of males (3.2:1) compared to the female-biased
adult sex ratio, but they could not provide any conclusive explanation for the possible reasons of higher female survival rates.

Foxes, Wolves, Jackals, and Dogs An Action Plan for the Conservation of Canids (Extrait/Excerpt)

Canid Predation on Livestock
One might reasonably assume that canid predation on livestock
must be a common event: the fox in the chicken coop and the
wolf in sheep’s clothing have been enshrined in English as
metaphors for negligence and cunning. But the strength of these
images may belie the frequency with which the actual events
occur. Amidst the flying feathers, how many chickens or turkeys are actually eaten by canids?
Every British city-dweller ‘knows’, whether or not he has
ever seen either fox or chicken, that red foxes are the scourge of
the chicken-run; the power of ideas learnt on the parental knee
may not take account of the fact that free-range poultry are an
economic irrelevance to the British poultry business.
In a survey by Macdonald and Doncaster (1985) of red foxes
killing urban pets, many of those questioned in one district
responded with details of a child’s guinea pig being killed—it
turned out that all these accounts referred to the same guinea
pig. In the same survey missing cats were often said to have
been killed by foxes, despite the fact that this is a demonstrably
rare event and that cats are very often killed in road traffic
accidents. Similarly, a horrendous report of a surplus kill of
lambs by a red fox, vividly related by an elderly hill farmer,
turned out to have been the misfortune of his father many years
before. These points are not to deny the importance of predation, but merely to highlight the difficulty in quantifying it.
Only in the last few decades have data been systematically
collected to assess the extent, and costs, of livestock losses to
carnivores in general, and to canids in particular (Andelt 1987).
It is exceedingly difficult to answer a relatively simple question: how does one measure the magnitude of livestock losses
which are caused by canids? Most field studies of canid feeding
ecology are made from the perspective of the predator, not the
prey. They give some indication of the proportion of livestock
in an animal’s diet From this, if one knows the population density of the carnivore being studied, an estimate can be made of
the numbers of sheep, chickens, or cattle which might be lost to
any particular species of canid. However, when measuring the
impact of foxes, wolves, or jackals on livestock production, the
question we need to answer is not “what percent of the diet is
composed of livestock?” or even “how many sheep are eaten by
canids?” but “what effect does canid predation have on total
livestock production?”
To answer this question, two statistics are needed as a starting point: the number of viable domestic animals killed by the
carnivore in question, and the total production of domestic
animals in that region. In Table 1, we have summarized data
from several studies on the impact of canid predation on livestock production.
Assessing the Extent of Canid Induced
Losses
The data in Table 1 show clearly that the percentage loss of
domestic livestock to canid predation is, for the most part,
small. Of the 15 studies cited, mean losses in excess of 2%
occur in very few cases. In some cases, such as wolves in
Norway (Naess and Mysterud 1987), theextremely small losses
(0.02%) reflect extremely small wolf populations (4-10 individuals). Nonetheless, even in areas where healthy canid
populations persist (e.g. coyotes in the western United States),
livestock losses as a percentage of total production are relatively small.
Even an estimate of 2% loss may exaggerate the losses
which can be directly blamed on canids. Most of the known
biases happen to inflate (but rarely deflate) estimates of canid
predation on livestock. Pearson (1986 loc. cit. Andelt 1987),
notes that many of the studies he reviewed in his manuscript
have been conducted in areas where predation is known to be a
problem. This is not surprising; there is little need, and little
demand, to study the effects of predation in areas where
predators are either uncommon or where predators do not
disturb livestock. However, in many areas, the great majority
of ranchers are rarely affected by predation by wild canids. In
Minnesota, over 99% of all livestock producers were unaffected by wolves (Fritts 1982). In the western United States,
78
Table 1. Levels of Canid Predation on Livestock
Predator
Coyote
Coyote
Coyote
Coyote
Coyote
Wolves
Wolves
Arctic Fox
Prey
Ewes
Lambs
Beef Calves
Turkeys
Goats (Adults)
(Kids)
Beef Cattle
Sheep
Lambs
% Crop Lost
1.0-2.5%
1.9%
1.4%
4-8%
7.0%
2.4%
0-0.4%
0.61%
0.8%
18.1%
33.9%
0.2%-3.1%
0.12%
0.02%
3-4%
Region
Western U.S.A.
Western U.S.A.
Alberta, Canada
Western U.S.A.
Western U.S.A.
Alberta, Canada
Western U.S.A.
U.S.A.
Nebraska, U.S.A.
Texas, U.S.A.
Texas, U.S.A.
Alberta, Canada
Alberta, Canada
Norway
Iceland
Source
USFWS 1978 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Pearson 1986 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Dorrance and Roy 1976
USFWS 1978 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Pearson 1986 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Dorrance and Roy 1976
USFWS 1978 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Gee 1978 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Andelt and Gipson 1979
Pearson 1986 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Pearson 1986 loc cit. Andelt 1987
Fritts 1982
Fritts 1982
Naess and Mysterud 1987
Hersteinsson unpublished data
most sheep ranchers suffer no loss or only minor losses to predators (Andelt 1987).
In management terms, this suggests that the figures presented below may represent the worst case. If a study is
undertaken in an area with perceived coyote problems and
determines that livestock losses are approximately two percent,
the average loss of livestock in all areas, those with and without
perceived coyote problems, is apt to be much lower.
Of course, there is a corollary to this point: if most ranchers
and farmers are unaffected by canid predation, then the few that
are will suffer heavier losses. This may, in turn, result in those
producers most affected taking drastic measures in an attempt
to reduce loss. For example, in South Africa, one of the last surviving populations of approximately 300 African wild dogs is
found in Kruger National Park. In a single year (1987), one
farmer bordering the park is known to have shot 20 dogs (M.G.
Mills, pers. comm.). Although livestock losses to African wild
dogs in South Africa must be measured in the hundredths of a
percent, the farmer bordering the park obviously found his
personal losses intolerable. A second problem common to
many studies is that losses reported are frequently based on
reports made by ranchers. Fritts (1982) notes that this type of
data collection may introduce many biases. The first such
problem is verification that animals reported as being killed by
canids were actually killed by canids (Macdonald and Doncaster 1985, Macdonald 1987).
In his study on wolf predation in Minnesota, Fritts extracted
data from reports made to the state by ranchers seeking compensation. Many of the reports of wolf predation were completely
unverified: the carcasses of 76% of the cattle, and 73% of the
calves reported missing were never found, and wolf involvement in the death of these animals could not be verified. In an
area of northwest Minnesota where wolves were recently
protected, there was only one confirmed report of wolf predation in 5 years; only 1% of scats examined had remains of cattle
suspected to have been killed by wolves (Fritts and Mech 1981).
In surveys where a large proportion of “kills” are unverified,
a great majority of animals “killed” by predators may have died
from other causes. The magnitude of the error introduced by
unverified reporting can be seen in the results of a study on
wolves and cattle in Alberta, Canada (cited by Fritts 1982). In
121 cases where the cause of death of the animal could be
determined, only 19 deaths (16%) were caused by predators.
The great majority of deaths (67 or 55%) were ascribed to
natural causes such as pneumonia and the ingestion of poisonous plants. Although it concerns an avian predator, and not a
canid, Houston and Maddox’s studies (1974) of predation by
carrion crows on lambs show elegantly the grave inequality
between the farmer’s suspicions and the biologist’s data. Similarly, Hewson (1984) shows how, despite a fearful representation, red foxes in west Scotland were responsible for killing
only a small percentage of lambs, which were actually dying.
Even livestock that is seen being consumed by a predator
may have died of natural causes and, subsequently, been scavenged by the predator. For instance, although the South American grey zorro is believed by some to kill livestock, evidence
suggests that the great majority of all livestock consumed is
scavenged (Jaksic and Yanez 1983). On the other hand, it
appears that crab-eating zorros in Brazil are a persistant minor
nuisance through their depredations on chickens (D. Macdonald,
pers. obs.).
Oddly enough, not all animals reported as dying are known
to have lived. Calf losses are frequently assumed to have occurred if a cow thought to be pregnant is put out to pasture and,
sometime later, is then sighted without a calf. However, when
cows thought to be pregnant by ranchers were tested, 27% (40
of 150) were found to be “false” pregnancies (Fritts 1982). This
overestimate of pregnancy leads to an overestimate of the
79
number of calves in a herd; this then leads to an overestimate of
losses. The wolves, in the end, are blamed.
Deaths that are verified as canid kills may not have been
caused by the species of canid suspected of doing the damage
In Minnesota, Fritts (1982) reported that coyotes were responsible for approximately 10% of the deaths thought to have been
caused by wolves. In Leon, Spain, 47 sheep and 11 goats were
“killed” by wolves in a two year period. In fact, nearly 50% of
the sheep thought to have been killed by wolves were actually
killed by feral dogs (Salvador and Abad 1987). In Italy, 50% to
80% of the sheep thought to have been killed by wolves were
probably killed by feral domestic dogs (Boitani 1982).
Why are so many losses that appear to be due to natural
causes, or other predators, blamed on a particular species such
as wolves? In many cases, the blame for such mis-reporting is,
in part, due to abuses of programmes developed to protect
wolves. In many parts of the world, where wolves are rare or
endangered, ranchers are compensated for losses due to wolves,
but not for other causes of livestock mortality. Hence, kills
known to have been made by coyotes, foxes, or feral domestic
dogs are called wolf kills so that a rancher can collect compensation (Italy—Zimen and Boitani (1979), Macdonald and Boitani (1979); Minnesota, U.S.A.—Fritts (1982); Leon, Spain—
Salvador and Abad (1987)).
The data in Table 1 also clearly show that juvenile animals
are at a greater risk than adults. Calves are eaten at higher rates
than cattle, lambs more frequently than sheep. This suggests
that canid predation will be the greatest problem at times when
livestock are bearing and raising their young. Of course, at
other times of the year, canids are surviving on other types of
food. Hence, if young animals can be protected, canids may
well stop eating livestock, and switch to more easily acquired
foods.
Clearly, the influence of wolves on domestic livestock will
depend on the interactions between wolves and their wild prey.
The extent of predation on livestock, for instance, may be
directly related to the quality or quantity of other prey species.
An example of such a interaction has recently been elucidated by Mech et al. (1988). In the summer in Minnesota,
white-tailed deer fawns constitute a large part of a wolf’s diet.
The vulnerability of fawns to predation appears to be a function
of the previous winter: a bad winter results in more vulnerable
fawns. Furthermore, there is less wolf predation on domestic
livestock after a bad winter. The increased vulnerability of
fawns appears to result in a decline in wolf predation on
domestic livestock.
In a study of a small pack of wolves in the availability of a
third type of “prey,” human refuse, might also influence patterns of predation on livestock. In Spain, wolves appeared to
compensate for reduced prey (roe deer) numbers by eating more
garbage (Salvador and Abad 1987). If garbage had not been an
easily acquired resource, perhaps wolves might have switched
to domestic livestock.
Fritts (1982) notes that in Alberta, cattle are much more
heavily preyed upon in closed, brushy habitats (3.3%) than in
open habitats (1.3%). The increase in predation in closed
habitat may be due to increased risk of predation due to limited
visibility, or to wolf habitat preference: in northwest Minnesota, wolves were rarely observed in pasture areas and spent
most of their time in the woods (Fritts and Mech 1981).
Canid Predation on Wildlife
It is often assumed that canid predation on wildlife reduces the
amount of wildlife available for human consumption and sport.
Before such an assumption can be made, data must be collected
which address the following questions: 1) Is the harvest of the
prey species by humans on a scale with that of canids? If, for
the most part, humans are the major predator in a system,
removing other causes of predation may result in only a marginal increase in human harvests. 2) If canids are removed from
an ecosystem, or reduced in number, does the prey they eat
become available to man or do these animals die from other
natural causes? For example, canids often specialize on young
animals. If removal of canids results in a greater rate of
predation by other predators (e.g. bears, birds of prey) or
increased natal mortality from starvation or disease, canid
reduction alone is unlikely to result in greater human harvests
of adult animals.
In this section, we review the available literature and attempt
to answer the following questions: 1) Do canids control prey
populations? 2) In those circumstances in which canids do
control prey populations, will killing predators (“lethal control
measures”) significantly reduce the damage done by canids? 3)
If killing predators does not work, are other non-lethal control
measures possible?

The Whistling Hunters (Extrait/Excerpt)

Pariah Dogs of the City and Jungle
In contrast to the free­roaming and feral dogs I have studied in the United States, Fox et al. (1975)* the abundance of dogs in the cities and villages of India was quite
remarkable. At least one dog could be found along every few hundred yards of street, among the teeming people, the small, open stalls, the wandering cattle, and the
scratching chickens. By all accounts, most dogs were homeless, and yet, a percentage of them were in reasonable condition. (By reasonable, I imply absence of
extensive skin infections, emaciation, or injury to one or more limbs.) Some children showed me their pet dogs in Srinigar (Kashmir), but few were kept as pets.
Children and adults alike avoided any physical contact with either pet or stray dogs. Some cities, like Bombay, and large towns, such as Srinigar, have instituted dogcatching and destruction programs, poison bait (strychnine) being used most often.
The displays of submission toward conspecifics were more typically coyotelike than doglike in these pariah dogs, i.e. more exaggerated than in Western dogs I have
observed. A clear back arch (coyote trait) was combined with the typically doglike lowered head, flattened ears, and submissive grin (horizontal retraction of the lips)
or defensive snarl (as distinct
* Portions of this chapter are from M. W. Fox, The Dog: Its Behavior and Domestication (New York: Garland Press, 1978).

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from a wide­open mouth gape as in the coyote). The more outward set of the erect ears, and upward curling tail make the pariah dog quite distinct from Western
mongrel dogs, although similar, dingolike canids are seen in Mexico and South America as well as throughout Southeast Asia. Short coats and erect ears are
characteristic in the pariah dogs, the most frequent color being brownish red or brownish yellow. Body size averages approximately 25–35 pounds, males tending to
be larger than females. Piebald (black/white or brown/white) shaggy and medium­long coats, and occasional flopped or pendulous ears are frequently seen—possibly
a more recent influence of imported (European) dogs on the indigenous pariah types.
Although an occasional dog was seen chasing children, most were passively submissive or fearful and avoided approach. Although obviously hungry and quite capable
of killing free­roaming chickens, the pariah, or pi­dogs, ignored or avoided them, probably through conditioning. A dog was once seen chasing a chicken and was
immediately stoned and frightened away. An all too common sight was that of children and even adults throwing sticks or rocks at these dogs for no apparent reason
other than sheer enjoyment. But at least the pi­dogs have one day a year with some grace. On the Festival of Khichmauas, people throughout India will feed all dogs
with the hope that the famous stray dog (Khichmauas) will visit their homes and bring good luck. Unfortunately, even this festival reflects superstitious self­interest
rather than human compassion for other creatures.
As I had anticipated from the study of feral and free­roaming dogs in St. Louis (Fox et al. 1975), dogs in large cities were seen singly or, rarely, in pairs, because the
limited abundance and wide distribution of food dictates a solitary, scavenging mode of existence. Thus, the environment profoundly influences social behavior of both
man and dog. Feral dogs in the St. Louis ghetto were most active between 11:30 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. during the summer. It was thought that this activity pattern was
related to active avoidance of human contact. Other free­roaming house dogs had a similar activity peak, plus two smaller peaks around 7:00–9:00 A. M. and 6:00–
9:00 P.M. These smaller peak periods were associated with people letting dogs out in the morning, and with people and dogs socializing on the streets in the evening.
Little activity was recorded between 11:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.: dogs and people alike avoided the heat of the day. The Indian pariah dogs had a pattern similar to these
free­roaming house dogs, their activity patterns reflecting heat avoidance (most sleep from late morning until late afternoon) rather than avoidance of people per se, as
was thought to be the case with the feral dogs of St. Louis. Thus, the Indian pariah dogs appear to be more human­oriented, and their activity pattern coincides with
human activity on the streets, although they do obtain scraps of food during the day from storekeepers and passersby.
Smaller towns and villages tend to be more supportive of both home­

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Figure 9.1
Indian pariah or pi­dogs, following a bitch in estrus (above), and a bitch with litter (below).
Note emaciated condition.
less people and dogs. Beggars make their rounds and shop owners give them a few cents or food not sold at the end of the day. Butcher shops and even bakeries can
be identified at a distance since usually one or more dogs are close by, waiting for any scraps. The store owners disclaim the dogs and say they are strays. Perhaps
feeding them in this way make the dog tol­

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erant, patient, and relatively social, thus unlikely to attack anyone unless rabid.
These customs are reminiscent of Dr. Hans Kruuk’s report (1972) of wild hyenas coming into Ethiopian villages to be fed at night. Local people felt this action would
keep them on friendly terms with the hyena pack, which might otherwise attack and carry off livestock and children. Pariah dogs, however, are not deliberately fed for
that purpose, but rather because they are hungry.
Time did not permit a detailed study of these feral dogs; questions as to their social relationships and territoriality (adhering to one particular street zone and keeping
strange dogs away) remain to be answered. A territorial system may exist, since the same feral dogs were seen in the same locales over several days. Eight dogs were
seen chasing off another dog in an open area just outside of one village.
No less than eight dogs—four females, two males, and two young male dogs—were seen resting together in the shade in the large town of Srinigar, Kashmir. The
largest male and female were clearly the most dominant. When disturbed, this aggregation (rather than pack) split up into five and two, the dominant female
disappearing at least temporarily. Local people said the animals were all strays and, considering their poor physical condition in contrast to the few pet dogs that were
seen, this statement was probably true. This same group of dogs was seen together several days later in the same area, suggesting at least a temporary pack formation.
In St. Louis, such large aggregations of dogs were only seen when a female was in heat and a group of males trailed her (Fox et al. 1975). A mixed group (of different
ages and sexes) with no female in heat attests to the social capacity of the pariah dog. More research is needed on these dogs’ social relationships, although any such
research will undoubtedly be frustrated by the high mortality rates of the subjects under study.
The pariah dog remains an integral part of urban and rural life in India. The animal serves no specific function for man other than as a recycling agent in the
biodegradation of garbage, food wastes, human excrement, and other organic materials. Its epidemiological significance in terms of diseases transmissible to man and
as a passage­agent in reducing the virility of organisms pathogenic to man remain to be evaluated.* Although they are
* An estimated 120,000 Indian people per year seek treatment for dogbite wounds, especially in more crowded urban areas. Human deaths from rabies are common and often reach
reportedly epidemic proportions, indicating that the feral and free­roaming dog problem in India is serious and that the most stringent measures are needed to control it. Collecting
and humanely destroying ownerless dogs would certainly be of benefit to both the human and animal population. Even house pets are unsafe because of the potential exposure to
rabid dogs, and rabies vaccine for pets is not readily available in most areas. Some municipalities use strychnine in bait to kill pariah dogs while others use dilapidated or
improperly operated electrocution devices. Hopefully, more humane methods of population control will soon be funded and put into action.

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rarely if ever touched, their excrement and urine in the dry season become a potential health hazard in the dusty streets. But this material may, through passage,
provide people indirectly with oral inoculation of innumerable weakened microorganisms at an early age.*
It would be more aesthetic to remove the homeless dogs from the streets of India, but without changing other sanitary and social habits that measure could be
ecologically (and epidemiologically) disastrous. You can only pity the deprived animals and homeless street people and admire the will to survive.
Nothing is wasted in this urban ecosystem, in so many ways like the true jungle­survival of the fittest with food­chain (and socioeconomic) interdependence. But,
unlike the jungle where life is no less abundant, urban life is too often supported marginally and suffering is prolonged. The more merciful (but not necessarily humane)
early end to the sick and less vigorous maintains the quality of life under natural conditions. Even so, only the healthier pariah dogs survive to maturity and reproduce.
In comparison to the wild dogs of the jungle, however, few pariah dogs have the same health and vitality. Where the environment is harsh, only the healthy survive; but,
when environmental selection pressures are less rigorous because of protective buffering (by man), many that would normally die somehow continue to exist and, so,
to suffer in varying degrees.
Humanitarian goodwill may often perpetuate such suffering. Perhaps the healthiest animal and human communities are those with neither medicine nor misguided
humanitarian benevolence for the sick and underprivileged. But then, what happens to altruism and reverence for life?
To feed the pariah dogs is to ensure continued generations of marginal subsistence and further suffering; the same is true for mankind. This fact exemplifies the dilemma
between moral values and ecologically sound ethical conduct. Reverence for life is tested critically under such circumstances. You cannot ignore nor neglect what lives
and needs and loves, in spite of the consequences.
The altruism of a chunky male pariah dog meticulously grooming a sick and emaciated bitch (who was not in heat) remains with me. He even reached out and snapped
at the flies that buzzed around her face, and when thrown a few scraps of bread by a street vendor, he sat back and allowed her to devour every crumb.
Some fifty years ago, Mahatma Gandhi made this poignant statement which, like much of what he said and did, is highly relevant today:
… it is an insult to a starving dog to throw a crumb at him [Presumably because its life of suffering will only be prolonged]. Roving dogs do not indicate the civilization or
compassion of the society; they betray on the contrary the ignorance and lethargy of its members.
* This contention is supported by Graves and Oppenheimer (1975).

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Providing an occasional hand­out of food, in other words, as an act of benevolence, is neither enlightened compassion nor constructive action.
Country Dogs
In the field study area in the Nilgiris, the village dogs in Masinigudi consisted of two “societies,” one group having homes, the other dogs being homeless scavengers.
Both groups, however, were free to roam as they pleased. Those with homes exhibited more territorial behavior (as would be anticipated) and were less gregarious
than the homeless dogs who tended to sleep together and had a greater proximity tolerance toward each other. There is an interesting analogy here between the
possession of property (or territory) and its effects on the sociability of man and dog alike! Dogs with homes were easily identifiable not only because of a generally
(but not invariably) superior physical condition, but also on the basis of their antagonistic reactions toward other dogs of the same sex, especially when close to their
homes. How then, do these dogs form hunting packs? Presumably, when off home base (on “neutral” ground) and with the socially facilitating stimulus of the prey,
proximity intolerance is reduced. These dogs are then socially flexible enough to form an effective temporary hunting unit. Some of these village and farm pi­dogs
supplemented their diet of scraps and garbage by foraging for food in the surrounding jungle. They would scavenge for carrion and quickly arrive on the scene after
whistling dogs had made a kill. Circling vultures and vocalizing jungle crows probably gave them the cue as to the kill’s location. How the birds arrived so quickly, even
during a hunt, remains a mystery. Perhaps the sight of prey and predators in pursuit and the screams of the prey during attack are detected by the attentive birds. This
information is then communicated to other birds and, coincidentally, to scavengers such as hyenas, jackals, and pi­dogs.
Pi­dogs have been reported actually hunting with the chennai. They will also hunt deer by themselves. We observed such hunts on three occasions within a single
week. In one incident, three pi­dogs (the largest probably weighing no more than 35 pounds) were seen around noon chasing a small herd of twelve deer. A fourth
dog was seen lagging behind and tracking, having lost contact with the main group. So far as we could tell, no kill was made; the dogs were heard barking in deep
cover, and langurs were sounding their alarm call. The second occasion involved a yearling chital that ran into the camp (deer will reportedly run toward human
habitation when at bay, possibly to seek refuge). The prey had a large laceration on its left foreleg and was clearly exhausted. Two pi­dogs were seen close by,
obviously following the deer’s tracks. A short while later (3:15 P.M.), the chital was heard screaming in the river. It was being held at bay by one of the dogs, who bit at
its rump and neck, even crawling onto the deer’s back in order to bite at it. Eight vultures quickly gathered and began circling at 3:30 P.M. and several crows were
calling nearby. The chital kept the

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dog off with a face­to­face frontal threat, but fear was its weakness. Whenever the prey turned away, it would be attacked. The deer eventually found cover in dense
brush, and the dogs gave up the hunt.
Three such observations within a single week suggest that village pi­dogs have considerable impact on wildlife, probably maiming more deer than they actually kill.* In
addition to this problem, pi­dogs compete for food resources with jackal, hyena, wild dog, and other scavengers and predators. Part of wildlife management must,
therefore, focus on the pi­dog problem. Since responsible ownership is negligible, population control measures are indicated. The pi­dogs’ impact on wildlife is not
generally recognized, and many would implicate the wild dogs for any and all depredations on “game” animals such as chital and sambar. It is intriguing that pi­dogs do
not kill domestic livestock, at least to our knowledge. Clearly, if they did not discriminate between wild and domesticated animals, their presence in the villages would
not be tolerated by surrounding farmers.
We had not fully realized the extent of the pi­dog’s role in prey depredation until our last twenty­four hours in the field. Our final dinner consisted of roast curried
sambar (a change from the daily curried vegetable stew or sambhur), given to us by our cook who told us it had been shot by a hunter and given to the villagers. Later,
we learned that the sambar had in fact been killed by village pi­dogs. The next morning, while driving out of the valley, we found a group of gypsies cooking by the
roadside with a dozen or more dogs tied up on the bridge. The dogs were being taken to Mysore for sale to villagers for the sole purpose of hunting. Villagers will
allow their dogs to roam free and will encourage them to chase and kill deer: a good hunting dog is a prized possession. At the official level, this practice, like the
grazing of low­yield cattle and buffalo, is accepted as an unavoidable fact of life; the villagers need meat. It is indeed unfortunate that they do not eat their cattle
instead. Cattle and buffalo, even when producing no milk, are a status symbol, costing nothing since their feed comes from the jungle. This parasitic exploitation of the
jungle’s resources by man via his cattle, dogs, and inefficient agricultural practices is not unique to this study area, or to India, but is common in all relatively
overpopulated and underdeveloped countries. The global picture is indeed gloomy for the future of the world’s wildlife.
Because of their frequent close associations with jackals and wild dogs, village pi­dogs (which probably have greater resistance to distemper and other viral diseases
than their wild cousins) could severely reduce the populations of these canids during epidemic outbreaks. Pi­dogs will occasionally crossbreed with jackals (as will
feral dogs with coyotes in the United States), but there are no known cases of pi­dog/chennai crosses.
* Pi­dogs will often make a kill near a village or patti. They are not discouraged from doing this by the villagers, who will drive the dogs off and take the meat for themselves.

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Figure 9.2
Three village pariah dogs scavenging chital remains from a whistling dog kill.
The disease factor, together with direct food competition and their obvious depredations on game animals, makes the rural pi­dog a menace to wildlife management
and conservation. These same factors are also present in the United States, where free­roaming and feral rural dogs (often running in packs) cause untold damage to
domestic livestock and wildlife.
The entire problem is further aggravated by a constant production of pups from the village and surrounding pattis (farms). Marginal human support buffers the dogs
from the population controls to which wild canids would normally be subjected. With such an advantage, the unremitting impact of pi­dogs on wildlife and direct
competition with wild canids must be considerable.
Oppenheimer and Oppenheimer (1975) report that pup mortalities are around 33 percent, a figure comparable to the mortality rates of wolf cubs and rural feral dog
pups in North America. They also found a peak in estrus activity in pariah dogs around September and October, suggesting a single annual heat characteristic of the
dingo, whistling dog, Indian wolf, and African basenji.
A straightforward collar and tag licensing program for all owned dogs in villages close to wildlife sanctuaries would be a first step in solving the pi­dog problem
(together with rabies vaccinations, rarely done in India, and, ideally, spay­neuter programs as well). Unclaimed, unlicensed dogs would be humanely destroyed if not
adopted, and all owned dogs would be restrained or destroyed if they did roam and hunt. According to one official, if it were not for the price of ammunition, the
Indian Forest Service in

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the Nilgiris would shoot any pi­dogs seen within the sanctuary or caught chasing deer.
The use of poisoned bait (such as Follidol) by farmers to kill marauding leopard and wild dog is now being carefully controlled. Such practices more usually cause the
death of vultures, jackals, hyenas, and also pi­dogs. Since these dogs also forage in the villages, the pi­dog population would be least affected by such indiscriminate
poisoning so the dogs could easily fill the food­niche temporarily vacated by these other wild species, and fill it so effectively, in fact, that the hyena and jackal
especially might never regain a viable population. The most stringent measures are, therefore, needed in the use of poison baits and in the population control of pi­dogs
both of which can have a synergistic and adverse effect on wildlife and the ecosystem.