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The (Non)Effects of Lethal Population Control on the Diet of Australian Dingoes

Allen, Benjamin L. and Leung, Luke K.-P. (2014) The (Non)Effects of Lethal Population Control on the Diet of Australian Dingoes. PLoS ONE, 9 (9). e108251. ISSN 1932-6203

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108251

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108251

Abstract

Top-predators contribute to ecosystem resilience, yet individuals or populations are often subject to lethal control to protect livestock, managed game or humans from predation. Such management actions sometimes attract concern that lethal control might affect top-predator function in ways ultimately detrimental to biodiversity conservation. The primary function of a predator is predation, which is often investigated by assessing their diet. We therefore use data on prey remains found in 4,298 Australian dingo scats systematically collected from three arid sites over a four year period to experimentally assess the effects of repeated broad-scale poison-baiting programs on dingo diet. Indices of dingo dietary diversity and similarity were either identical or near-identical in baited and adjacent unbaited treatment areas in each case, demonstrating no control-induced change to dingo diets. Associated studies on dingoes' movement behaviour and interactions with sympatric mesopredators were similarly unaffected by poison-baiting. These results indicate that mid-sized top-predators with flexible and generalist diets (such as dingoes) may be resilient to ongoing and moderate levels of population control without substantial alteration of their diets and other related aspects of their ecological function.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information: Funding for components of this study was provided by the Caring for Our Country and Natural Heritage Trust government funding programs. Some of this funding was administered by the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board. These funding bodies had no role in the design, implementation, analysis or publication of this study.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Deposited On:29 Sep 2014 00:30
Last Modified:27 Jan 2015 03:49

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