Elucidating dingo’s ecological roles: contributions from the Pelorus Island feral goat biocontrol project

Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1533-0163 and Allen, Lee R. and Graham, Michael and Buckman, Matt (2020) Elucidating dingo’s ecological roles: contributions from the Pelorus Island feral goat biocontrol project. Australian Zoologist, 41 (3). pp. 374-387. ISSN 0067-2238


Abstract

Understanding the ecological roles of apex predators remains an important field of study. The influence of apex predators on ecosystems can be either profound or negligible in different situations, and uncertainty still exists about the ecological roles of most top-predators, including Australian dingoes. This uncertainly is maintained by a dearth of experimental evidence investigating their roles. Such evidence is indispensable if dingo management is to be evidence-based. In this report, we discuss a recent experiment where dingoes were released on to an island as vertebrate biocontrol tools intended to eradicate feral goats and restore native vegetation being threatened by the goats. The experiment was successful, and the dingoes reduced the goat population to one or perhaps two male goats within ~2 years. This predator introduction experiment elucidated dingo’s effects on small livestock, their per capita predation rates, and their invasiveness or their ability to adapt and change their environment. The experiment confirmed that dingoes have the capacity to decimate populations of small livestock species and trigger a trophic cascade by reducing herbivory on vegetation. We encourage further manipulative experiments to explore the ubiquity of these results in different contexts.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 23:26
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2022 03:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canis familiaris (dingo); invasive species; island conservation; lethal control; total grazing pressure; trophic cascade wild dog
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960402 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Coastal and Estuarine Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180204 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in coastal and estuarine environments
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2020.018
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/46191

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