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Do dingoes supress feral cats? Spatial and temporal activity of sympatric feral cats and dingoes in central Queensland

Fancourt, B., Speed, J. and Gentle, M. (2017) Do dingoes supress feral cats? Spatial and temporal activity of sympatric feral cats and dingoes in central Queensland. In: 17th Australasian vertebrate pest conference, Canberra.

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Abstract

Feral cats (Felis catus) are notoriously difficult to control effectively using traditional management approaches. Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) reintroductions have been proposed as a novel approach to the broadscale control of invasive mesopredators such as feral cats and foxes (Vulpes vulpes). However, the ability of dingoes to suppress feral cats and protect species threatened by cat predation remains unresolved. We used camera traps to investigate the spatial and temporal activity of sympatric dingoes and feral cats in Taunton National Park, home to the only significant remnant wild population of the endangered bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata). Feral cats and dingoes exhibited marked overlap in spatial and temporal activity across the park, indicating coexistence between these predators at this site. There was no evidence of dingoes excluding cats from any areas, with cat activity higher in areas where dingoes were active. Time and distance between individual predator detections were negatively related, suggesting within-night avoidance of dingoes by cats. However, cats remained active, abundant and widespread across the park, with evidence of cats hunting and breeding successfully in areas occupied by dingoes. These findings suggest that feral cats can coexist with dingoes, without significant suppression of cat abundance or fitness. Proposals to reintroduce dingoes should be evaluated on a site-by-site basis, as the ability of dingoes to suppress feral cats and protect species of conservation significance will likely be context dependent.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural education > Research. Experimentation
Veterinary medicine > Predatory animals and their control
Deposited On:12 Jan 2018 01:13
Last Modified:12 Jan 2018 01:13

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