Population survey and management strategies of free-roaming dogs (Canis familiaris) on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Adrianna Nimer, Nashelly Meneses, Zachary D. Watson, Stephen M Shuster, Russell Benford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is populated by free-roaming dogs who were introduced during World War II. The local nonhuman animal control agency manages this population; however, the demographic information and public perception of this population remain unknown. To characterize the free-roaming dog population, an island-wide survey on Saipan was conducted. Photographic, mark-recapture data were used to estimate the population size per land type. Age, sex, sociality, and behavior per land type were documented and associations between these variables were tested using G tests. The effects of land type and urbanization on dog abundance were also analyzed. Lastly, in-person surveys provided data on the public perception of free-roaming dogs. Four main findings are reported: (a) The population size of free-roaming dogs on Saipan is estimated at 21,316. (b) Most dogs encountered were sentry adults. (c) Dog abundance increased with urbanization level and was highest in urban areas. (d) The public perceived free-roaming dogs as a health concern and suggested the implementation of leash laws and sheltering initiatives. This article discusses potential and existing population management strategies for free-roaming dogs on Saipan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-184
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018



  • Canis familiaris
  • introduced species
  • population structure
  • public perception
  • spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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