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Interactions between four species in a complex wildlife: livestock disease community: implications for Mycobacterium bovis maintenance and transmission

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Author(s)

  • Catherine E. Cowie
  • Michael R. Hutchings
  • Jose Angel Barasona
  • Christian Gortázar
  • Joaquín Vicente
  • Piran C L White

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
DateE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2015
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2016
Issue number1
Volume62
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)51-64
Early online date10/11/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Livestock diseases such as bovine tuberculosis can have considerable negative effects on human health and economic activity. Wildlife reservoirs often hinder disease eradication in sympatric livestock populations. Therefore, quantifying interactions between wildlife and livestock is an important aspect of understanding disease persistence. This study was conducted on an extensive cattle farm in southwest Spain, where cattle, domestic pigs, wild boar and red deer are considered to be part of a tuberculosis host community. We tested the hypothesis that the frequency of both types of interactions would be greater at food and water sites, due to the aggregation of individuals from multiple species at these locations. We measured direct and indirect interactions between individuals using GPS and proximity loggers. Over 57,000 direct interactions were recorded over a 2-year period, of which 875 (1.5 %) occurred between different species and 216 (0.38 %) occurred between wildlife and livestock. Most direct and indirect interactions occurred at water sites. Over 90 % of indirect interactions between wildlife and livestock took place within the estimated 3-day environmental survival time of Mycobacterium bovis in this habitat. Red deer home ranges and daily activity patterns revealed significant spatial and temporal overlaps with cattle, particularly in autumn. Suids and red deer also cross the farm boundary regularly, introducing a between-farm interaction risk. The infrequent occurrence of direct interactions between individuals from different species suggests that they are unlikely to be the sole mode of disease transmission and that indirect interactions may play an important role.

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© Authors 2015. This content is made available by the publisher under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. This means that a user may copy, distribute and display the resource providing that they give credit. Users must adhere to the terms of the licence.

    Research areas

  • Bovine tuberculosis, Contact rates, Multi-host pathogens, Proximity logging, Species interactions, Wildlife:livestock interface

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