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Human perceptions of and interactions with wild canids on cattle ranches in central Brazil

  • Stacie M. Bickley (a1), Frederico G. Lemos (a2), Michael P. Gilmore (a3), Fernanda C. Azevedo (a2), Elizabeth W. Freeman (a3) and Nucharin Songsasen (a4)...


Local attitudes towards carnivores often reflect the degree of damage they are perceived to cause. Consequently, understanding the interactions between people and these species is essential to conservation efforts. This study investigated local perceptions of three Cerrado canid species and current chicken management practices, to identify the potential damage they cause and how this relates to peoples’ attitudes towards these species. Results from structured interviews at 50 ranches in Goiás, Brazil, highlighted that general knowledge about Cerrado canids differed significantly by species, with interviewees unable to correctly answer questions about the hoary fox Lycalopex vetulus and crab-eating fox Cerdocyon thous in comparison to the maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus. Chicken coops were identified as the most effective method for preventing predation, yet only 44% of respondents employed this method. Using a perceived predation measure, interviewees reported chicken predation by all three Cerrado canids even though most of these events were stated to occur during the day, outside the species’ active periods. Reported predation events were a strong predictor of attitude. Participants who experienced predation events reported they did not like having a Cerrado canid on their property. However, 86% of the respondents agreed that Cerrado canids should nevertheless be protected. Our findings support the need to incorporate the human dimension in canid and broader carnivore conservation issues.


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Current Address: Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45220, USA

Also at: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Front Royal, Virginia, USA

Also at: Natural Resources Ecology and Conservation Postgraduate Program, Institute of Biology, Federal University of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

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