Preliminary data on the distribution of free-ranging dogs in NP Vitosha, Bulgaria

Free-ranging dogs often leave the urbanized areas and stray into nearby mountainous habitats, even entering protected areas. This causes problems for the wildlife due to either direct predation or disturbance. Our camera trap survey (July 2013 - November 2014) in NP Vitosha, Bulgaria resulted in a total of 199 independent registrations of free-ranging dogs in 81 locations. In this preliminary study, we present the distribution, habitat selection, and distance from settlements and activity of free ranging dogs in Vitosha NP. The free-ranging dogs in Vitosha are predominantly diurnal, and show preference towards coniferous and mixed forests, mostly closed. Their distribution and activity patterns are influenced by human presence, which is due to the fact that they at least partially rely on human-sourced food. Some data for observations of wild animals influenced by dogs is also discussed.