In conducting research on hunting dogs in lowland Nicaragua, UC researchers have found that older and male dogs seem to enjoy better success rates than do younger and female dogs. Also, dogs are more suited to wildlife sustainability than other hunting options. Hunters with firearms tend to disproportionately hunt prey that lives in trees, including slow-breeding primates, whereas hunters with dogs tend to harvest relatively fast-breeding animals such as agoutis, pacas and armadillos.
The research examined variables such as age and sex on the amount of harvested game that dogs contribute from subsistence hunting in an indigenous community where such hunting has had a long and important role in community survival. Community members in the region capture about 85 percent of harvested mammals with the aid of dogs.
Among the specific findings: As both male and female dogs reach three years of age, they tend to increase their hunting success and produce greater harvests. Older, male and female dogs in the study population returned more game to their owners than did younger dogs. And bigger dogs are able to track and corral bigger prey, which increases their hunting return rates, and in general, male dogs are bigger than females.
The UC research was conducted in Nicaragua's Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, which is part of the largest unbroken tracts of Neotropical rainforest in Central America, north of the Amazon Rainforest. The researchers based the study on the hunting activities of the Mayangna and the Miskito, two indigenous ethnic groups, who live along a tributary of the Coco River, not far from the border with Honduras.
Jeremy Koster, assistant professor of anthropology, and Ken Tankersley, assistant professor of anthropology, at the University of Cincinnati presented this research at the April 18-22 Society for American Archaeology
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