Domestic dogs as an edge effect in the Brasília National Park, Brazil: interactions with native mammals


Ana Cristyna Reis Lacerda, PPG Biologia Animal, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade de Brasília, 70910-900 Brasília, DF, Brazil.


Edge effects are a well-known result of habitat fragmentation. However, little has been published on fragmentation, isolation and the intrusive influence from the surrounding matrix at the landscape level. The objectives of the present study are to evaluate the presence of dogs in the Brasília National Park (BNP) in relation to habitat type and the influence from the surrounding matrix. In addition, this study examines the response of the native mammal fauna to the presence of dogs. Track stations were built along dirt roads in the BNP and subsequently examined for the presence or absence of tracks. We used a stepwise logistic regression to model the occurrence of five mammal species relative to habitat variables, with an α=0.05 to determine whether to enter and retain a variable in the model. A simulation of each species occurrence probability was conducted using a combination of selected habitat variables in a resource selection probability function. Results indicate a negative relationship between distance from the BNP edge and the probability of dog occurrences. From an ecological perspective, the presence of dogs inside the BNP indicates an edge effect. The occurrence of the maned wolf was positively associated with distance from a garbage dump site and negatively associated with the presence of dog tracks. The maned wolf and giant anteater seem to avoid areas near the garbage dump as well as areas with dog tracks. There is no support for the possible existence of a feral dog population inside the BNP, but the effects of free-ranging dogs on the wildlife population in such an isolated protected area must not be neglected. Domestic dog Canis familiaris populations and disease control programs should be established in the urban, sub-urban and rural areas surrounding the BNP, along with the complete removal of the garbage dump from the BNP surroundings.