Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dingo poisoning should be stopped to protect native Australian mammals

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
Poisoning of dingoes -- the top predators in the Australian bush -- has a deleterious effect on small native mammals such as marsupial mice, bandicoots and native rodents, a study shows. Loss of dingoes is associated with greater activity by foxes, which prey on the small mammals. As well, the number of kangaroos and wallabies increases and their grazing reduces the density of the understorey vegetation where the mammals live, leaving them more exposed to predators.

This is a dingo in the Australian bush. A new study shows the poisoning of dingoes has a deleterious effect on small native mammals such as marsupial mice, bandicoots and native rodents.
Credit: Charlotte Mills

Poisoning of dingoes -- the top predators in the Australian bush -- has a deleterious effect on small native mammals such as marsupial mice, bandicoots and native rodents, a UNSW-led study shows.

Related Articles


The research, in forested National Parks in NSW, found that loss of dingoes after baiting is associated with greater activity by foxes, which prey on small marsupials and native rodents.

As well, the number of kangaroos and wallabies increases when dingoes, also known as wild dogs, disappear. Grazing by these herbivores reduces the density of the understorey vegetation in which the small ground-dwelling mammals live.

"Dingoes should not be poisoned if we want to halt the loss of mammal biodiversity in Australia. We need to develop strategies to maintain the balance of nature by keeping dingoes in the bush, while minimising their impacts on livestock," says the senior author, UNSW's Dr Mike Letnic.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers surveyed seven pairs of forested sites within conservation reserves managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Baiting of dingoes with 1080 poison had been carried out at one location in each pair, but not the other. Apart from the resulting difference in the number of dingoes present, the pairs of locations had similar eucalypt coverage, geology and landforms, and were less than 50 kilometres apart.

"This provided an extraordinary natural experiment to compare the impact of the loss of dingoes on a forested ecosystem," says Dr Letnic, an ARC Future Fellow in the Centre for Ecosystem Science in the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

It is the first study to show how removing large carnivores can result in simultaneous population outbreaks of herbivores and smaller predators. And that these population outbreaks, in turn, can have deleterious effects on smaller mammals.

The activity of dingoes, foxes, feral cats and bandicoots was assessed from their tracks. Kangaroos and wallabies and possums were counted from the back of a four wheel drive. Traps were used to catch marsupials and native rodents, and surveys of vegetation were carried out.

"We found foxes and large herbivores benefit from dingo control, while small-bodied terrestrial mammal species decline in abundance," says Dr Letnic.

"Predation by foxes is one of the most important threats to small native mammals, and grazing by herbivores can reduce their preferred habitats for shelter, leaving them exposed to predators."

The study's findings in the forested areas are consistent with the effects of dingo removal in desert areas of Australia.

"Actively maintaining dingo populations, or restoring them in areas where they have been exterminated, is controversial but could mitigate the impacts of foxes and herbivores," says Dr Letnic.

"Poisoning of dingoes is counter-productive for biodiversity conservation, because it results in increases in fox activity and declines of small ground-dwelling native mammals."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. J. Colman, C. E. Gordon, M. S. Crowther, M. Letnic. Lethal control of an apex predator has unintended cascading effects on forest mammal assemblages. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1782): 20133094 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3094

Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Dingo poisoning should be stopped to protect native Australian mammals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082755.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2014, March 12). Dingo poisoning should be stopped to protect native Australian mammals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082755.htm
University of New South Wales. "Dingo poisoning should be stopped to protect native Australian mammals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082755.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins