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Data from: Hunting, exotic carnivores, and habitat loss: anthropogenic effects on a native carnivore community, Madagascar

Cite this dataset

Farris, Zach J. et al. (2016). Data from: Hunting, exotic carnivores, and habitat loss: anthropogenic effects on a native carnivore community, Madagascar [Dataset]. Dryad.


The wide-ranging, cumulative, negative effects of anthropogenic disturbance, including habitat degradation, exotic species, and hunting, on native wildlife has been well documented across a range of habitats worldwide with carnivores potentially being the most vulnerable due to their more extinction prone characteristics. Investigating the effects of anthropogenic pressures on sympatric carnivores is needed to improve our ability to develop targeted, effective management plans for carnivore conservation worldwide. Utilizing photographic, line-transect, and habitat sampling, as well as landscape analyses and village-based bushmeat hunting surveys, we provide the first investigation of how multiple forms of habitat degradation (fragmentation, exotic carnivores, human encroachment, and hunting) affect carnivore occupancy across Madagascar’s largest protected area: the Masoala-Makira landscape. We found that as degradation increased, native carnivore occupancy and encounter rates decreased while exotic carnivore occupancy and encounter rates increased. Feral cats (Felis species) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) had higher occupancy than half of the native carnivore species across Madagascar’s largest protected landscape. Bird and small mammal encounter rates were negatively associated with exotic carnivore occupancy, but positively associated with the occupancy of four native carnivore species. Spotted fanaloka (Fossa fossana) occupancy was constrained by the presence of exotic feral cats and exotic small Indian civet (Viverricula indica). Hunting was intense across the four study sites where hunting was studied, with the highest rates for the small Indian civet ( individuals consumed/year), the ring-tailed vontsira (Galidia elegans) ( consumed/year), and the fosa (Cryptoprocta ferox) ( consumed/year). Our modeling results suggest hunters target intact forest where carnivore occupancy, abundance, and species richness, are highest. These various anthropogenic pressures and their effects on carnivore populations, especially increases in exotic carnivores and hunting, have wide-ranging, global implications and demand effective management plans to target the influx of exotic carnivores and unsustainable hunting that is affecting carnivore populations across Madagascar and worldwide.

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