This species occurs in several protected areas throughout its range, but it has a patchy distribution and occurs at very low densities. Hunting is prohibited in Colombia (Law Number 848:1973), Ecuador (Law Number 74:1981), French Guiana (Law Number JO19860625:1986), Panama (Law Number 2-80:1980), Paraguay (Law Number 18796:1975) and Peru (Law Number 5056:1970). Hunting and trade is regulated in Argentina (Law Number 22.421:1981), Bolivia (Law Number 12301:1975), Brazil (Law Number 5197:191967), and Venezuela (Law Number 276:1970). There is no Information for Guyana and Suriname. Unfortunately, in many parts of its range, resources are inadequate to manage designated protected areas and enforce existing wildlife laws.
Included in CITES on Appendix I.
Bush Dogs occur in captivity and are part of a successful international breeding programme (Buck 2009), which includes Asia (Japan), Europe, Brazil, and North America. There have been no known attempts at reintroduction.
Population estimates and demographic data for Bush Dogs is still little known across its range. This extends to an understanding of the social dynamics of individual groups, especially in terms of dispersal of young and area of use relative to other groups (overlapping or separate home ranges). Habitat associations are not clearly understood – the species was once thought to be dependent on forests but is now increasingly observed in open and fragmented habitats; however there is no data on population viability in such areas. While preliminary data on diet supports a primarily carnivorous diet, seasonal changes and geographical variation in diet needs to be evaluated. Determining how the impact of disease, especially transmission dynamics from domestic dogs, can be managed or minimized in wild populations needs to be addressed. Interspecific relationships with sympatric carnivores needs to be further evaluated.
Locating evidence of species presence using standard survey techniques, including camera traps and transect surveys, has proven difficult (Beisiegel 2009, DeMatteo et al. 2009, Michalski 2010). The use of artificial scent lures, which can increase attraction to a specific location, have been unsuccessful with wild Bush Dogs (Zuercher et al. 1999). However, there are several methodological adjustments that may increase the effectiveness of these techniques with the species, including adjusting the height of camera placement, increasing trapping effort, and concurrent use of long-call vocalization playbacks and conspecific urine (DeMatteo et al. 2004). Limited field trials in partially fragmented cerrado (2004-2005) with playbacks, urine, and leg-hold traps were unsuccessful (K. DeMatteo unpubl. data). However, additional trials are needed to determine how species density, habitat variability (forest versus cerrado), and prey density alters technique effectiveness.
Preliminary and ongoing research using a combination of three non-invasive techniques (scent-detection dogs, faecal DNA screening, GIS technology) has been shown to be successful for the species (DeMatteo et al. 2009, unpubl. data) and should be expanded to additional regions and habitat. This suite of techniques eliminates the need to attract the species to a specific location and allows insight into many ecological variables including habitat use (intact and fragmented), population status, minimum area of use, and niche overlap/separation with other carnivores.
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