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Free-ranging dog

feral dogs.

Feral dogs: Landscape and mind mapping

FONDECYT 1230554

Our interdisciplinary project aims at making use of this unique chance to study feral dogs in a setting of simplicity without interference from migrating dogs, on Navrino Island, Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will improve knowledge on feral dogs collecting ecological data, on the one hand, and social data, on the other hand, using similar parameters to enable a statistical comparison. That way we can identify how the landscape and mind maps match or differ. Specifically, we seek to (1) determine feral dog movement patterns, habitat use, and home ranges (via satellite collars on dogs, and a camera-collar), as well as the recruitment of village dogs by feral dogs (via genetics), (2) explore the human perception of the same parameters, as well as human experiences, attitudes, values, and emotions regarding the dog-human interrelation (via qualitative interviews with different social groups and art-based methods), (3) compare biological and social data sets using discriminant analysis and visualization in socio-ecological maps, and disclose possible reasons for divergence based on our value assessment, and (4) finally, develop policy proposals for dog ownership and feral dogs (via multi-stakeholder workshops at local and regional level).


Feral dogs in social media

Professional internship


This project is about how feral dogs are perceived in social media, specifically in Twitter as a social media network for debates. We extracted over 1000 tweets on feral dogs in Chile posted over a period of 15 years, analysing the content on feral dogs, emotions, locations, user perfile, user influence, etc. to disclose the principal debates (peak events), threats associated to feral dogs, wildlife species reported to be affected, and management suggestions. The wordcloud below shows which words ranked highest in the tweeds.


Nube de palabras análisis.png

owned dogs.

2015-up to date.
Free-ranging owned dogs and biodiversity conservation


PAI-CONICYT 79140024

Our research on free-ranging owned dogs in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve aims at better understanding how and why unconfined dogs move through sub-Antarctic ecosystems and how they interact with native and domestic fauna, as well as strangers. So far, we have performed (1) research on the socio-ecological impacts based on an analysis of dog feces and questionnaires with the local community, rural farms and Navy families on isolated islands within the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (Schüttler et al. 2018), (2) vectors and range expansion of dogs within the Reserve (Schüttler et al. 2019), (4) occupancy and habitat use of free-ranging dogs (Contardo et al. 2020), (4) the influence of the dog-owner bond on the movements of free-ranging dogs (Saavedra-Aracena et al. 2021), (5) movement and activity patterns, home range, and habitat preferences of free-ranging dogs (Schüttler et al. 2022), and tourists as possible vectors of the movement of dogs (Schüttler & Jiménez 2022). Currently we work on which stimuli (friendly voice, petting, food) have an effect on whether dogs follow strangers.

free-ranging cats.

2015-up to date.
Presence of feral cats and impacts on birds


PAI-CONICYT 79140024

Through camera-trapping on different islands of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve we found feral cats with kittens on Picton Island (Schüttler et al. 2019, Photo below), but there is still work to do to confirm their presence more systematically, for example on Wollaston Island within the Cape Horn National Park. We also used animal-born cameras in owned cats in Puerto Williams, to answer the question how frequent they visit natural areas around the town, what they look at, whom they interact with, and finally whether they catch birds (video example below).

Feral cat
Photo: Feral cats with kittens on Picton Island, Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile, photograph taken by a camera-trap.
Video: Video filmed by a camera carried by an owned cat in Puerto Williams, Navarino Island, Southern Chile.
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