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The effect of castration on home range size and activity patterns of domestic cats living in a natural area in a protected area on a Brazilian island

By Giovanne Ambrosio Ferreira, Juliana Clemente Machado, Eduardo Nakano-Oliveira, Artur Andriolo, Gelson Genaro

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Abstract

The presence of domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) in natural areas can generate several environmental problems, such as competition with other species, disease transmission, and predation. Male cats generally tend to be more territorial than female cats. Male cats also tend to have larger home ranges than female cats. In this study, we used radio-telemetry monitoring to demonstrate the significant effect of the castration of males in reducing the home range of cats living in semi-domiciliary conditions that have access to natural areas. The home range was calculated based on the minimum convex polygon method (we use 100 % of the location points collected in each period: before and after castration), and the kernel method fixed points (95 % of the locations in each period). We also determine the size of the activity centers for each individual using the fixed kernel method (including 25 or 50 % of each animal's location points collected in each period). As a consequence of this reduced home range (by 79.32 %), a reduction in the overlap between domiciliary and natural areas was also observed. The male cats’ activity patterns also decreased significantly (28.72 %). Thus, the castration procedure, in addition to its potential effects on population control, may be a possible strategy for wildlife conservation.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 230
Pages 105049
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2020.105049
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Tags
  1. Activity
  2. Home range
  3. natural environment
  4. Spaying and neutering