Wolf-Hunting Dog Interactions in a Biodiversity Hot Spot Area in Northern Greece: Preliminary Assessment and Implications for Conservation in the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park and Adjacent Areas.
ABSTRACT: Hunting dog depredation by wolves triggers retaliatory killing, with negative impacts on wildlife conservation. In the wider area of the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park, reports on such incidents have increased lately. To investigate this conflict, we interviewed 56 affected hunters, conducted wolf trophic analysis, analyzed trends for 2010-2020, applied MAXENT models for risk-map creation, and GLMs to explore factors related to depredation levels. Losses averaged approximately one dog per decade and hunter showing a positive trend, while livestock depredations showed a negative trend. Wolves preyed mainly on wild prey, with dogs consisting of 5.1% of the winter diet. Low altitude areas, with low to medium livestock availability favoring wolf prey and game species, were the riskiest. Dogs were more vulnerable during hare hunting and attacks more frequent during wolf post-weaning season or in wolf territories with reproduction. Hunter experience and group hunting reduced losses. Wolves avoided larger breeds or older dogs. Making noise or closely keeping dogs reduced attack severity. Protective dog vests, risk maps, and enhancing wolf natural prey availability are further measures to be considered, along with a proper verification system to confirm and effectively separate wolf attacks from wild boar attacks, which were also common.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC8614248 | BioStudies |