Despite its large distributional range and occurrence in a variety of habitats, Bush Dogs seem to be naturally rare throughout their range. In a recent survey by DeMatteo (2008), the majority of countries in the Bush Dog’s distribution reported the status of the species as rare or unknown (rare: Ecuador; rare or unknown: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay; unknown: Panama and Venezuela) and only two countries reported it as common (Guyana and Peru). The species is seldom recorded with camera traps; however, caution should be taken when interpreting the lack of detection, as this may actually be associated with the species actively avoiding features associated with this technique (e.g., placement of traps along animal trails used by other carnivores) or assumptions on animal movement (e.g., placement along roads assumes the animal will walk along the road versus cross over the road).
Demographic data for Bush Dogs are lacking throughout their range and population estimates have been reported only for a few areas: <100 in Misiones Argentina (DeMatteo 2008), >1,000 in Bolivia (DeMatteo 2008), > 1,000 in 4,022 km² or one individual/4 km² in Cusco Peru within the Camisea River region (DeMatteo 2008), 0.04 individuals/km² (B. Beisiegel pers. comm.) in Brazil, 0.025 individuals/km² in partially fragmented cerrado in Mato Grosso Brazil (E.S. Lima, K.E. DeMatteo, R.S.P. Jorge, M.L.S.P. Jorge, J. Dalponte, H.S. Lima, and S. Klorfine, pers. obs.), 15.8 individuals/394 km² or 0.04 individuals/km² in the Pantanal in Brazil (Lima, Jorge et al. 2009), and 0.001 individuals/km² in fragmented southern Amazonia Brazil (Michalski 2010). A suitable area of approximately 11,000,000km² (DeMatteo and Loiselle 2008), and an average population density of ca. 0.01 individuals/km², would predict an estimated population of 110,000 individuals, approximately half of which would be mature; however, the effects of fragmentation, degree of protection, and variability across their broad distribution would suggest that this is an over-estimate.
Across the Bush Dog’s distribution, population trends are reported as unknown in two countries (Guyana and Panama), declining in two (Paraguay and Venezuela), unknown or stable in one (French Guiana), and stable in two (Ecuador and Peru, specifically Cusco Peru) (DeMatteo 2008). Across the entire range, increasing levels of habitat fragmentation (urbanization and agriculture), threats to prey populations with illegal poaching, and exposure to potentially lethal candid-related diseases, mean that the probability that the trend is stable or increasing is highly unlikely.
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