Surveillance and control of dogs and cats (D&C) have become increasingly important for the conservation of biodiversity in protected areas. However, despite the increase in densities of free-roaming D&C in urban areas, especially in developing countries, the impact on wildlife is poorly documented. The Metropolitan District of Quito (MDQ) in Ecuador, contains a high biodiversity of native fauna, but free-roaming dog populations have tripled in recent years, with no published information about possible consequences on wildlife. We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients admitted to a Veterinary Hospital in Quito between July 2017 and June 2022 to determine the incidence of D&C attacks on wildlife from the MDQ. A total of 429 wild specimens (79.5% birds, 17.2% mammals and 3.3% reptiles), including 59 species (4 vulnerable, 1 endangered and 1 critically endangered), were treated for injuries inflicted by D&C. Attacks increased every year on record, and 79% of specimens did not survive. Given that current governmental regulations for the control of domestic animals have not been effective, we propose to address the global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective, considering predation by D&C, biodiversity conservation, animal welfare, human health, and public policies as intertwined phenomena. The goal of this approach is to achieve greater awareness and increase the effectiveness of management programs, while improving the health of animals, humans, and the environment in which they live. Additionally, we recommend government support to replicate this research in other wildlife rehabilitation and rescue centers to understand the scope of the issue nationally.
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Reports from Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Describe Recent Advances in Human Ecology (Dog and cat-related attacks on wildlife in the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador: an integrative approach to reduce the impact)
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