Identifying the main threats for the bush dog conservation

This is a systematic study about a less known neotropical canine species, the bush dog, Speothos venaticus (IUCN 1990) in an area where the rate of native vegetation removal was the highest in Brazil for the past 10 years, the state of Mato Grosso. This funding will allow the continuation of a project that began this year and has resulted in the capturing of a group of 10 individuals (2 adults, 3 young adults and 5 youngsters). The study presents different approaches, so we can identify the main conservation threats of the bush dog. The recently captured group is monitored closely, so we can attain exclusive information about living area, habitat use, activity pattern, diet, reproduction, youngsters dispersion and pathogens exposure. Still, we will put more effort in capturing new groups through sighting information by local farmers, as well as training of search dogs to locate active lairs. Captured adult individuals will be placed with radio collars equipped with GPS and/or VHF for further monitoring. Camera traps will be used to estimate population size and density of bush dogs in the region, as well as their preys and potential competitors. We will use biological samples to evaluate the animal´s exposure to pathogens. The results will provide essential and exclusive information about ecological needs and sanitary status of bush dogs. The data will help us elaborate a management plan for the species in Brazil, as well as identify main areas for conservation in the state of Mato Grosso. The proposed study area (city of Nova Xavantina, MT, and surrounding cities) presents a merge of naturally preserved areas with intentionally modified ones, which provides an investigation of anthropic effects on their ecology and sanitary status.


Overall Objectives:

Our main objective is to continue one of the only ecological studies with radio-telemetry monitoring that has been conducted on bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), one of the least known species of neotropical carnivores. Furthermore, we intend to expand our research to determine impacts of anthropic actions upon bush dog populations in an ecological (prey abundance, dispersion and colonization of new areas, and hunting impacts), as well as sanitary context (pathogens exposure through contact with domestic carnivores). Finally, we hope that our results can subsidize an effective management plan for the species in Nova Xavantina region and in the rest of Mato Grosso state.


Specific Objectives:
  • To capture new groups of bush dogs
  • Determine the living area of the bush dog in the region
  • Large-scale mapping of habitat presence and preferences of the bush dogs in the region.
  • Estimate density, sex ratio, composition and size of the packs
  • Refined determination of displacement patterns, dispersion patterns, habitat preferences and patterns of activities;
  • Determine birth and mortality rates in the population of bush dogs and main causes of death among animals;
  • Estimate abundance of preys;
  • Diagnose and map exposure to pathogenic agents (canine distemper virus, parvovirus, rabies, and Leishmania spp.)
  • Spatial correlation between ecological and sanitary data (space occupation, patterns of dispersion, colonization of new areas, causes of death, abundance of prey and presence of diseases) with the presence and amount of natural vegetation, as well as proximity to human housing.

Operational area


Responsible team

Project coordinator :

Ronaldo Gonçalves Morato



Rodrigo Silva Pinto Jorge – containment of animals and diagnosis of exposure to pathogens

Edson Souza Lima – monitoring and catches

Maria Luisa da Silva Pinto Jorge – photographic trapping

Learn more about projects developed by IPC