Mammalian Biology

, Volume 80, Issue 4, pp 290–297 | Cite as

Fine-scale movements of rural free-ranging dogs in conservation areas in the temperate rainforest of the coastal range of southern Chile

  • Maximiliano SepúlvedaEmail author
  • Katherine Pelican
  • Paul Cross
  • Antonieta Eguren
  • Randall Singer
Original Investigation


Domestic dogs can play a variety of important roles for farmers. However, when in proximity to conservation areas, the presence of rural free-ranging dogs can be problematic due to the potential for predation of, competition with, or transmission of infectious disease to local threatened fauna. We used a frequent location radio tracking technology to study rural free-ranging dog movements and habitat use into sensitive conservation habitats. To achieve a better understanding of foray behaviors in dogs we monitored dogs (n = 14) in rural households located in an isolated area between the Valdivian Coastal Reserve and the Alerce Costero National Park in southern Chile. Dogs were mostly located near households (<200 m) but exhibited a diurnal pattern of directed excursions (forays) away from their home locations. Dogs spent, on average, 5.3% of their time in forays with average per dog foray distances from the house ranging 0.5–1.9 km (maximum distance detected 4.3 km). Foraying behavior was positively associated with pasture habitat compared to forest habitat including protected lands. Foraying dogs rarely used forest habitat and, when entered, trails and/or roads were selected for movement. Our study provides important information about how dogs interact in a fine-scale with wildlife habitat, and, in particular, protected lands, providing insight into how dog behavior might drive wildlife interactions, and, in turn, how an understanding of dog behavior can be used to manage these interactions.


Canis familiaris Domestic dog Habitat use Protected lands Rural communities 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maximiliano Sepúlveda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine Pelican
    • 1
  • Paul Cross
    • 2
  • Antonieta Eguren
    • 3
  • Randall Singer
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyNorthern Rocky Mountain Science CenterBozemanUSA
  3. 3.Center for Latin American Studies & Center for African StudiesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Instituto de Medicina Preventiva Veterinaria, Facultad de Ciencias VeterinariasUniversidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile

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