Roaming behaviour and home range estimation of domestic dogs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in northern Australia using four different methods

Dürr, Salome Esther; Ward, Michael P. (2014). Roaming behaviour and home range estimation of domestic dogs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in northern Australia using four different methods. Preventive veterinary medicine, 117(2), pp. 340-357. Elsevier 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.07.008

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Disease transmission parameters are the core of epidemic models, but are difficult to estimate, especially in the absence of outbreak data. Investigation of the roaming behaviour, home range (HR) and utilization distribution (UD) can provide the foundation for such parameter estimation in free-ranging animals. The objectives of this study were to estimate HR and UD of 69 domestic dogs in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in northern Australia and to compare four different methods (the minimum convex polygon, MCP; the location-based kernel density estimation, LKDE; the biased random bridge, BRB; and Time Local Convex Hull, T-LoCoH) for investigation of UD and estimating HR sizes. Global positioning system (GPS) collars were attached to community dogs for a period of 1-3 days and positions (fixes) were recorded every minute. Median core HRs (50% isopleth) of the 69 dogs were estimated to range from 0.2 to 0.4 ha and the more extended HR (95% isopleth) to range from 2.5 to 5.3 ha, depending on the method used. The HR and UD shapes were found to be generally circular around the dog owner's house. However, some individuals were found to roam much more with a HR size of 40-104 ha and cover large areas of their community or occasionally beyond. These far roaming dogs are of particular interest for infectious disease transmission. Occasionally, dogs were taken between communities and out of communities for hunting, which enables the contact of dogs between communities and with wildlife (such as dingoes). The BRB and T-LoCoH are the only two methods applied here which integrate the consecutiveness of GPS locations into the analysis, a substantial advantage. The recently developed BRB method produced significantly larger HR estimates than the other two methods; however, the variability of HR sizes was lower compared to the other methods. Advantages of the BRB method include a more realistic analytical approach (kernel density estimation based on movements rather than on locations), possibilities to deal with irregular time periods between consecutive GPS fixes and parameter specification which respects the characteristics of the GPS unit used to collect the data. The BRB method was therefore the most suitable method for UD estimation in this dataset. The results of this study can further be used to contact rates between the dogs within and between communities, a foundation for estimating transmission parameters for canine infectious disease models, such as a rabies spread model in Australia.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Dürr, Salome Esther

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0167-5877

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Salome Esther Dürr

Date Deposited:

09 Nov 2018 16:53

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2018 16:53

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.07.008

PubMed ID:

25096735

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/101160

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