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The application of genetics to improving peri-urban wild dog management

Gentle, M., Oakey, H. J., Speed, J. and Allen, B. L. (2017) The application of genetics to improving peri-urban wild dog management. In: 17th Australasian vertebrate pest conference, Canberra.

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The impacts of wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo and their hybrids) are increasingly being felt by producers and residents throughout the fragmented landscapes of peri-urban areas of north-eastern Australia. Management options are limited in such environs, and confounded by a lack of knowledge of wild dog ecology. Genetics of wild dog populations has been studied generally, but limited information is available from the peri-urban areas. Tissue samples (n=812) were collected from wild dogs euthanised from control or research programs conducted in peri-urban and more rural areas. DNA was extracted, seventeen microsatellite loci examined, and allelic data analysed using methods including the Average 3Q score, Paetkau assignment, and Cavalli-Sforza Distance and Nei’s standard distance matrices. Collectively, these results were used to determine the degree of hybridisation of dog populations, and compare the genetic profile of geographically-distinct dog populations. We use the hybridisation distribution of dingoes, hybrid wild dogs, and domestic dogs to determine whether domestic dogs are a major contributor to peri-urban wild dog populations. The genetic profile of geographically distinct populations were compared to determine if a region is likely to be a single/multiple demographic management unit, hypothesise patterns of movement between subpopulations, and examine the potential for any source/sink populations. More importantly, defining subpopulations is useful to determine the appropriate scale and location of management units, to improve the long-term effectiveness of control. Finally, in a novel approach, we examined the identity of the species, genotype, individual, and number of individuals responsible for predation events on wildlife species. Determining the ‘identity’ of individuals preying on wildlife is an increasingly available means to define the problem and thus develop more targeted solutions. This study is part of an Invasive Animals CRC research project, to document the nature, distribution and impact of peri-urban wild dogs, and develop alternative management approaches.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:Science > Biology > Genetics
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Live Archive:12 Jan 2018 02:22
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:51

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