Habitat modification through rural and urban expansions negatively impacts most wildlife species. However,anthropogenic food sources in habitations can benefit certainspecies. The red fox Vulpes vulpes can exploit anthropogenicfood, but human subsidies sometimes also sustain populationsof its potential competitor, the free-ranging dog Canisfamiliaris. As human habitations expand, populations offree-ranging dog are increasing in many areas, with unknowneffects on wild commensal species such as the red fox. Weexamined occurrence and diet of red fox along a gradient ofvillage size in a rural mountainous landscape of the IndianTrans-Himalaya. Diet analyses suggest substantial use of anthropogenic food (livestock and garbage) by red fox.Contribution of livestock and garbage to diet of red fox declined and increased, respectively, with increasing village size.Red fox occurrence did not show a clear relationship withvillage size. Red fox occurrence showed weak positive relationships with density of free-ranging dog and garbage availability, respectively, while density of free-ranging dog showedstrong positive relationships with village size and garbageavailability, respectively. We highlight the potential conservation concern arising from the strong positive association between density of free-ranging dog and village size.
European Journal of Wildlife Research, 62: 131-136, DOI 10.1007/s10344-015-0967-8