Appeasing pheromones for the management of stress and aggression during conservation of wild canids: could the solution be right under our nose?

Riddell, Pia, Paris, Monique C.J., Joonè, Carolynne J., Pageat, Patrick, and Paris, Damien B.B.P. (2021) Appeasing pheromones for the management of stress and aggression during conservation of wild canids: could the solution be right under our nose? Animals, 11 (6). 1574.

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Thirty-six species of canid exist globally, two are classified as critically endangered, three as endangered, and five as near threatened. Human expansion and the coinciding habitat fragmentation necessitate conservation interventions to mitigate concurrent population deterioration. The current conservation management of wild canids includes animal translocation and artificial pack formation. These actions often cause chronic stress, leading to increased aggression and the suppression of the immune and reproductive systems. Castration and pharmaceutical treatments are currently used to reduce stress and aggression in domestic and captive canids. The undesirable side effects make such treatments inadvisable during conservation management of wild canids. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemical messages that modulate behaviour between conspecifics; as such, they offer a natural alternative for behaviour modification. Animals are able to distinguish between pheromones of closely related species through small compositional differences but are more likely to have greater responses to pheromones from individuals of the same species. Appeasing pheromones have been found to reduce stress- and aggression-related behaviours in domestic species, including dogs. Preliminary evidence suggests that dog appeasing pheromones (DAP) may be effective in wild canids. However, the identification and testing of species-specific derivatives could produce more pronounced and beneficial behavioural and physiological changes in target species. In turn, this could provide a valuable tool to improve the conservation management of many endangered wild canids.

Item ID: 68272
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Keywords: wild canid; conservation; metapopulation management; African wild dog; wolf; stress; aggression; immune suppression; reproductive suppression; appeasing pheromone
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 01:30
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310910 Animal physiology - systems @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 50%
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