Human, domestic animal, Caracal (Caracal caracal), and other wildlife species interactions in a Mediterranean forest landscape

Unal Y., Pekin B. K., Ogurlu I., Suel H., Koca A.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH, vol.66, no.1, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 66 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10344-019-1343-x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Animal Behavior Abstracts, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


Presence of humans and domestic animal species are a common threat to wildlife in protected areas. Wildlife habitat has a particularly strong human presence in the Mediterranean Basin where human population density is high. However, relatively little is known on the interaction and impact of humans on wildlife in much of the Mediterranean region. In this study, we recorded the interactions among several important wildlife species, humans, and domestic animals in a forested Mediterranean landscape in southern Turkey using camera traps. We sought to understand how the presence of humans and domestic animals such as feral dogs (Canis familiaris) and livestock impacted the behavior of the main wildlife species in the region such as caracal (Caracal caracal), fallow deer (Dama dama), and wild boar (Sus scrofa). A total of 4209 photographs from 9 species were captured over a 154-week period. Data were analyzed for both monthly and daily co-occurrences among species using multivariate and univariate techniques. Cluster analyses revealed that while human, wild boar, and fallow deer co-occupied the same area and time, other wildlife species avoided areas used by humans, feral dogs, and livestock which tended to co-occur. Regression analyses revealed that caracal inhabited the same areas as wild boar and European hare (Lepus europaeus), but avoided areas visited by humans and fallow deer on a daily basis. These results suggest that while humans and feral dogs inhabit the same area as wildlife in the region, wildlife species including top predators such as caracal avoid localities recently visited by humans and feral dogs. As a consequence, increasing human activity and feral dog populations has the potential to impact foraging, resting, and hunting behavior of local wildlife and poses a threat to the continued existence of these species in the area.