ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 105–110. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © E.V. Ivanter, N.A. Sedova, 2008, published in Ekologiya, 2008, No. 2, pp. 116–121.
The city is an evolutionarily new and speciﬁc envi-
ronment for animals, and it has been poorly studied to
date. Large numbers of stray dogs are of special interest
among ecological problems of modern cities. The
urgency of this problem is explained by a constantly
increasing frequency of contacts with stray dogs,
whose population densities in urban areas are several
times higher than those of taxonomically close wild
animals. Feral dogs expanding to natural biocenoses
cause substantial damage by attacking various wild ani-
mals. Furthermore, stray dogs may be hazardous to
human health, being a cause of injuries and transmit-
ting contagious diseases, including helminthoses (toxo-
cariasis, dipylidiasis, toxocaridiasis, and uncinariasis)
and zoonotic diseases.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The material was collected in the city of Petroza-
vodsk (Republic of Karelia, Russia) with a population
of about 300000 people in the period from 2002 to
2007. The area of the city (without suburbs and park–
forest zones) is 34 km
. It may be subdivided into the
residential and industrial zones, which differ from each
other in the availability of shelter, food resources, and
their spatial distribution. We established 11 test plots in
built-up areas (Fig. 1).
High-rise residential zones
tive buildings, multistory buildings, food marketplaces,
and shops. They are characterized by numerous, evenly
distributed food resources for dogs (dumps and land-
ﬁlls); however, available shelters are insufﬁciently safe,
and humans cause much disturbance. Closer to the city
outskirts are “dormitory quarters” where industries are
practically absent (plot 3).
Low-rise and high-rise residential zones
multistory buildings, single- and two-story buildings,
marketplaces, and parks (plots 2, 4, and 5).
Residential zones of homestead type
tial neighborhoods with predominantly single-story
buildings and narrow streets alternating with ruins,
waste grounds, and numerous dumps and landﬁlls
(plots 1 and 6).
are fenced grounds of industrial
enterprises, organizations, warehouses, and depots, all
of which are under security surveillance and most of
which keep guard dogs. These zones are more typical of
the outskirts; however, some of them are located close
to the city center, alternating with residential areas,
waste grounds, and green zones (plots 7–11).
To estimate the numbers of stray dogs, we used cen-
sus over type plots according to Vereshchagin et al.
(2006). We surveyed each plot on foot three times every
season. The dogs were photographed, and the places of
their detection were mapped. Their descriptions (the
size, sex, color, distinctive features, type, and age of
each dog) were inputted into the Stray Dogs database in
the Microsoft Excel environment. We also recorded the
social organization of these animals: all stray dogs
detected in the plots were subdivided into single indi-
viduals and those organized into packs. To avoid under-
estimation, we used correction based on the data on a
reference plot according to Chelintsev (2006). The
numbers of stray dogs corrected for the possible under-
estimation in all test plots were used to determine their
numbers in different types of urban zones.
We determined the boundaries of individual and
group home ranges by the minimal polygon method
(Mohr and Stumpf, 1966), a classical method widely
used in zoology. Its main principle is determination of
Ecological Monitoring of Urban Groups of Stray Dogs:
An Example of the City of Petrozavodsk
E. V. Ivanter and N. A. Sedova
Petrozavodsk State University, pr. Lenina 33, Petrozavodsk, 185910 Russia
Received May 22, 2007
—The results of the census of stray dogs and data on their territorial distribution in the city of Petroza-
vodsk are reported. The population density of these animals has been found to vary within the urban area,
depending mainly on the availability of secluded areas to live in and on population control by municipal ser-
: stray dogs, urban environment, density, seasonal changes, home range.