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Presence of Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in relation to land cover, livestock and human influence in Portugal

Abstract

From June 2005 to March 2007, we investigated wolf presence in an area of 1000 km2 in central northern Portugal by scat surveys along line transects. We aimed at predicting wolf presence by developing a habitat model using land cover classes, livestock density and human influence (e.g. population and road density). We confirmed the presence of three wolf packs by kernel density distribution analysis of scat location data and detected their rendezvous sites by howling simulations. Wolf habitats were characterized by lower human presence and higher densities of livestock. The model, developed by binary logistic regression, included the variables livestock and road density and correctly predicted 90.7% of areas with wolf presence. Wolves avoided the closer surroundings of villages and roads, as well as the general proximity to major roads. Our results show that the availability of prey (here: livestock) is the most important factor for wolf presence and that wolves can coexist with humans even in areas of poor land cover, unless these areas are excessively fragmented by anthropogenic infrastructures.

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Correspondence to Julia Eggermann.

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Eggermann, J., da Costa, G.F., Guerra, A.M. et al. Presence of Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in relation to land cover, livestock and human influence in Portugal. Mamm Biol 76, 217–221 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2010.10.010

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Keywords

  • Canis lupus signatus
  • Habitat utilization analysis
  • Human influence
  • Logistic regression model
  • Portugal