Date Written

Spring 3-15-2019

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Zoo and Conservation Science-BS

Department

Biology & Earth Science

Advisor

Anna Young, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Anna Young, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Andrew Calinger-Yoak, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Michele Acker, Ph.D.

Keywords

Human-wildlife conflict, wildlife rehabilitation, domestic dog, domestic cat, attack

Subject Categories

Other Animal Sciences | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Zoology

Abstract

Human-wildlife conflict is a growing concern, and domestic cat predation is estimated to be responsible for billions of wildlife deaths every year in the Unites States. Domestic dog predation has been less well studied, but as dogs are the second most numerous pet in the U.S. after cats, their impact on native wildlife should also be assessed. One method to assess domestic animal predation is to examine trends in wildlife rehabilitation records. Using the online database WILD-ONe, I analyzed over 31,000 wildlife hospital records in the United States from 2011-2016. During this time span, data showed over 14,000 domestic dog attacks and 17,000 cat attacks on wildlife were documented, showing dog attacks are comparable in number to cat attacks. Trends varied regionally and across the months, with a majority of cases occurring in the Eastern United States and during the summer months. Understanding the impact of domestic dogs and cats on native wildlife can lead to mitigation plans for survival of native species, including those considered to be threatened or endangered. Wildlife education should expand messaging on the negative impacts of pets on wildlife to include dogs in addition to cats.

Available for download on Monday, April 10, 2023

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