Estimation and characterization of the dog and cat population on Maio Island, Cape Verde: an integration of household survey data and remote sensing imagery

Ana Carolina Lopes Antunes, E. Ducheyne, W. Bryssinckx, S. Vieira, M. Malta, Y. Vaz, T. Nunes, K. Mintiens

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Companion animals are responsible for transmitting several diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease and rabies. The motivation for this research was to estimate the dog and cat population on Maio Island, Cape Verde, in order to implement a syndromic surveillance system as part of Vétérinaires Sans Frontières - Portugal (VSF-Portugal) project “Public Health trough Animal Health”.
The study was carried out in the course of VSF - Portugal mission in October 2012. Questionnaires were applied in six localities to classify the animals according to their age, gender, sterilization and parasites control status, body condition, skin changes and other observations, degree of dependence and restriction and recorded the coordinates of feeding places for each animal. Geographic information systems tools were used to process the data and linear regression models were created with the number of houses as only predictor variable to estimate dog and cat populations. A total of 457 dogs and 306 cats were identified; Porto Inglês was the locality with the highest number of animals (272 dogs and 156 cats). Results show that for both species, females (23.63% of female dogs and 16.90% of female cats) were sterilized in a higher percentage than males (17.09 of male dogs and 11.46% of male cats). The percentage of dewormed animals was also higher in females for both species (for dogs: 30.71 % of females and 30.71% of males; for cats: 16.90% of females and 15.92% of males). Regarding the degree of dependence and restriction, the results indicated that the majority of animals were classified as restricted or supervised animals (59.3% of dogs and 60.46% of cats) and as family animal (38.73% of dogs and 36.93% of cats). Porto Inglês was the only village where feral (1% of dogs, 0.33% of cats) and neighbour (0.88% of dogs, 2.29% of cats) animals were reported. The estimated population size on the island was 531 dogs and 354 cats. The models for these estimations were based on 400 m and 200 m resolutions respectively and resulted in an error of 7% when compared to survey results.
In summary, this study allowed a direct contact with a culture where small companion animals have an important social status; and stray animals were not a concern on Maio Island in contrast with other islands in Cape Verde. Remotely sensed data and GIS tools were crucial to accomplish the objective of this study, revealing that this methodology is an added value in terms of assessing population sizes when financial resources are restricted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventVI Congresso da Sociedade Portuquesa de Ciências Veterinárias: Ciências Veterinárias - Praxis e Futuro - Oeiras, Portugal
Duration: 3 Apr 20145 Apr 2014
Conference number: 6


ConferenceVI Congresso da Sociedade Portuquesa de Ciências Veterinárias

Bibliographical note

Poster abstract, p. 128

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