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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Can domestic dogs save humans from tigers Panthera tigris?

Published source details

Khan M.M.H. (2009) Can domestic dogs save humans from tigers Panthera tigris? Oryx, 43, 44-47

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Use non-lethal methods to deter carnivores from attacking humans Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2005–2007 in a mangrove area in Bangladesh (Khan 2009) found that domestic dogs Canis lupus familiaris accompanying people gave advance warning of tiger Panthera tigris presence, enabling people to take precautionary actions. Of the responses by dogs to apparent tiger presence 62% were verified as accurate. One tiger was killed by people during 2006 (within the study period), compared to 12 in the preceding four years (most of which was before the study period). Four humans were killed by tigers during 2006, compared to 75 over the preceding four years. Forty domestic dogs were each taken into the forest 18 times between August 2005 and January 2007. Each dog, tethered to a person, accompanied a group of 5–7 people (plant-product harvesters, honey gatherers or fishermen). Dogs responded to most wild animals with excitement, quick movements and vocalisations though apparent responses to tigers were fear and low noise and moving close to the owner without barking. Presence of tigers or other wild animals was verified immediately by observation, or the next day by locating pugmarks or scats.

(Summarised by Suzanne Ou)