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Fighting like cats and dogs? Dingoes do not constrain spatial and temporal movements of feral cats

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Kreplins, T. L., Kennedy, M. S., O'Leary, R. A., Adams, P. J., Dundas, S. J. and Fleming, P. A. (2021) Fighting like cats and dogs? Dingoes do not constrain spatial and temporal movements of feral cats. Food Webs, 27 . e00173. ISSN 2352-2496

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fooweb.2020.e00173

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352249620300331


The mesopredator release hypothesis proposes that when top-down suppression by a larger predator (e.g. dingoes, Canis familiaris) is removed, smaller mesopredators (e.g. feral cats, Felis catus) increase in abundance. Lethal control of dingoes could therefore potentially exacerbate predation pressure by feral cats on smaller prey species. We monitored the activity of dingoes and feral cats (in the absence of red foxes) in two dingo-baited areas over 16 months using 182 camera traps. First, we estimated population densities across each property and found that dingo and feral cat density were unrelated. Second, we compared daily capture rate of dingo and feral cats and found that both predators' capture rates were weakly related to environmental factors and the baiting program. Third, we analysed temporal overlap in activity of these two predators. Although both predators were nocturnal and showed 78.7% overlap in temporal activity patterns, there was a significant difference in activity peaks. Finally, while both predators were distributed across the whole study site, there was strong temporal separation within 1, 12 and 24 h periods at each individual camera. In conclusion, there was no indication of suppression of feral cat population by dingoes. The large and growing body of similar evidence suggests that calls to restrict dingo control on grounds that it will cause mesopredator releases are unsupported and highly unlikely to yield the biodiversity benefits often hoped for by proponents.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Baiting Dingo Feral cat Invasive species Mesopredator release Camera traps
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Carnivora > Canidae (Dogs)
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Live Archive:06 Oct 2020 03:04
Last Modified:23 Feb 2023 23:36

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