Eat or Not To Eat? The Diet of the Endangered Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus
signatus) in a Human-Dominated Landscape in Central Portugal
by Torres et al 2015
Livestock predation by large carnivores and their persecution by local communities are major conservation concerns. In order to prevent speculations and reduce conflicts, it is crucial to get detailed and accurate data on predators’ dietary ecology, which is particularly important in human dominated landscapes where livestock densities are high.
This is the case of the endangered Iberian wolf in Portugal, an
endemic subspecies of the Iberian Peninsula, which has seen its
population distribution and abundance decline throughout the 20th
century. Accordingly, the diet of the Iberian wolf was analyzed, using
scat analysis, in a humanized landscape in central Portugal. From 2011
to 2014, a total of 295 wolf scats were collected from transects
distributed throughout the study area, prospected on a monthly basis.
Scat analysis indicated a high dependence of Iberian wolf on livestock.
Domestic goat predominated the diet (62% of the scats), followed by cow
(20%) and sheep (13%); the only wild ungulate present in the scat
analysis was the wild boar (4% of the scats). Our results show that even
though livestock constitute most part of wolves diet, different
livestock species may represent different predation opportunities.
conclude that the high levels of livestock consumption may be a result
of low diversity and density of wild ungulates that settles livestock as
the only abundant prey for wolves. Our findings help on the
understanding of the Iberian wolf feeding ecology and have implications
for conflict management strategies. Finally, management implications are
discussed and solutions are recommended.“
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