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Habitat modification through rural and urban expansions negatively impacts most wildlife species. However,
anthropogenic food sources in habitations can benefit certain
species. The red fox Vulpes vulpes can exploit anthropogenic
food, but human subsidies sometimes also sustain populations
of its potential competitor, the free-ranging dog Canis
familiaris. As human habitations expand, populations of
free-ranging dog are increasing in many areas, with unknown
effects on wild commensal species such as the red fox. We
examined occurrence and diet of red fox along a gradient of
village size in a rural mountainous landscape of the Indian
Trans-Himalaya. Diet analyses suggest substantial use of anthropogenic food (livestock and garbage) by red fox.
Contribution of livestock and garbage to diet of red fox declined and increased, respectively, with increasing village size.
Red fox occurrence did not show a clear relationship with
village size. Red fox occurrence showed weak positive relationships with density of free-ranging dog and garbage availability, respectively, while density of free-ranging dog showed
strong positive relationships with village size and garbage
availability, respectively. We highlight the potential conservation concern arising from the strong positive association between density of free-ranging dog and village size.