Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Feeding around the bush: Supplementary feeding for dogs in Singapore forests (#149)

Norman T-L Lim 1 , Xue Li Lok 1 , Shirley SL Lim 1
  1. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Since its domestication more than 30,000 years ago, the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) has become the most abundant canid worldwide, estimated at 700 million to 1 billion in numbers. Of this, approximately 60% of dogs are found in rural areas and a large proportion are free-roaming, potentially exerting direct ecological influences on the native wildlife. Because dogs are often supplemented with human-derived food, supplementary feeding can translate to increased dog abundance (which leads to greater intensity of ecological interactions) and the food items may also be consumed by non-target species.  Here, we examined the public's perception of supplementary feeding of dogs and the extent of supplementary feeding at the forested nature reserves of Singapore. Additionally, we investigated the community composition of non-target forest vertebrates that were attracted to common food items left out for dogs at forest interiors, edge habitats, and adjacent public-accessible recreational facilities using baited camera-traps. We found that the public generally did not support supplementary feeding of dogs for various reasons, and such feeding only took place at locations where dogs were found. The vertebrate communities attracted to food baits were significant dissimilar between forest interiors and recreational sites; camera-trap images also revealed that free-roaming dogs seldom recorded in forest interior sites. General recommendations with regards to supplementary feeding were made in relation to the findings of the study.