Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (1): 21204.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021204

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The spatio-temporal impact of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) on giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve

Jirong Teng1, Xingming Liu1, Liwen He1, Junliang Wang1, Jian Huang2, Jie Feng2, Fang Wang3,*(), Yue Weng3,*()   

  1. 1 Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve, Longnan, Gansu 756400
    2 Shan Shui Conservation Center, Beijing 100871
    3 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2021-05-20 Accepted:2021-09-30 Online:2022-01-20 Published:2022-01-29
  • Contact: Fang Wang,Yue Weng


Aims: Anthropogenic interferences have various forms such as domestic animals, in which many have significant negative impacts but are consistently ignored in conservation planning. Most domestic dogs in Baishuijiang live with humans but act as semi-feral dogs since they are allowed to enter forests, including nature reserve, during most of the year (except for planting periods). During these periods of freedom, their home range, activity pattern, and most importantly, interaction with wild animals, remains unknown. To fill this knowledge gap, we chose the giant panda to study the response of wildlife to free-ranging dogs due to the spatial overlap of domestic dogs and giant pandas in Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve. Our objective was to: (1) track the extent of dog movements in and around nature reserve, and (2) evaluate the percent area of nature reserve where giant panda may come in contact with domestic dogs.

Methods: To understand the extent of the impact free-range domestic dogs have on giant pandas, we used infrared cameras and GPS collars to study the repercussions of domestic dogs entering nature reserve and affecting the wildlife. We also constructed a MaxEnt model to estimate the spatial overlap of domestic dogs and giant pandas in Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve.

Results: The suitable habitat for giant pandas in nature reserve is 885.8 km2, around 48.2% of the overall area, while the area of domestic dog distribution is 861.2 km2, or 47.6% of the nature reserve. The overlap between domestic dogs and giant panda habitat is 28.2% of the entire nature reserve. There are significant differences in activity rhythms of giant pandas between sites with and without dog detection.

Conclusion: These results indicate the extent to which the trespassing of domestic dogs has affected giant pandas. The negative impact of residential areas could result in a combination of human activities (e.g., poaching, farming, livestock grazing, automobile traffic), requiring distinctive solutions to eliminate. We suggest any major residents close to nature reserves should restrain dogs at residences. Taking account for the effects of dog’s movements and habitat use in the nature reserve is essential for a comprehensive conservation framework.

Key words: giant panda, domestic dog, habitat, camera trap, MaxEnt model