The (non)effects of lethal population control on the diet of Australian dingoes

Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: and Leung, Luke K.-P. (2014) The (non)effects of lethal population control on the diet of Australian dingoes. PloS One, 9 (9). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1932-6203

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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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Open Access journal. Published version made available in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 03:32
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2018 05:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal behavior; animal food; article; Australia; controlled study; dingo; ecosystem resilience; nonhuman; population dynamics; predation; predator; sympatry; animal; diet; dog; predation; wild animal
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410499 Environmental management not elsewhere classified
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