In human-populated landscapes, dogs (Canis familiaris) are often the most abundant terrestrial carnivore. However, dogs can significantly disrupt or modify intact ecosystems well beyond the areas occupied by people. Few studies have directly quantified the environmental or economic effects of free-roaming and feral dogs. Here, we review wildlife-dog interactions and provide a case study that focuses on interactions documented from our research in Mongolia to underscore the need for studies designed to best determine how dogs affect native wildlife and especially imperiled populations. We suggest additional research, public awareness campaigns, and the exclusion of dogs from critical wildlife habitat. The application of scientific findings to management and enhanced public outreach programs will not only facilitate recovery and maintenance of wildlife populations globally but also has the potential to reduce economic losses.
© 2011, American Institute of Biological Sciences. View original published version here