Feral dogs at Isla de Cedros, Baja California, Mexico: a possible threat for pinnipeds.
The presence of feral dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in Isla de Cedros, Baja California, Mexico, has been documented for over 15 years. In the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2009/2010, 2 sampling surveys were conducted in the northeast coastal portion of the island to assess the diet of feral dogs in the vicinity of hauled out California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Mammals were the most important prey group in the diet of dogs (85.4%). Our results show that in the northeast coast of Isla de Cedros, feral dogs feed on pinnipeds: the elephant seal was the most important prey in both seasons (43.3% in summer and 51.9% in winter), followed by the sea lion as the second most important prey during the summer (23.3%), while its importance decreased in the winter (5.8%). Besides the potential predatory activity, there is an important likelihood that pinnipeds could be infected by pathogens of dogs, with serious epizootic consequences.