Biosecurity Research Articles

Responses of dingo (Canis familiaris) populations to landscape-scale baiting

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Baiting, Camera traps, Dingo, Invasive species, Livestock, Wild dog, Wildlife management


Biosecurity | Other Animal Sciences


Carnivores are important drivers of ecological processes around the world. However, medium-large carnivores are often the focus of human-wildlife conflicts and are subject to control efforts. Determining the effectiveness of predator control efforts in reducing predator abundance or impact is critical to ensuring control is achieving its intended aims. This information is also vital to understanding any impacts of control efforts on the ecological functions of carnivores. In this study, we deployed camera traps on two properties in the southern rangelands of Western Australia to examine the effectiveness of repeated rounds of landscape-scale toxicant baiting in reducing dingo populations. Biannual baiting at each property was temporally offset from the other to provide a comparison of short-term changes in dingo activity and density over 16 months' monitoring. While there were significant differences in dingo density between properties, there was no significant differences between months categorised as ‘month of baiting’, ‘month immediately post-baiting’ or ‘between baiting’. Further, there was no overall decline in dingo density on either property over the duration of the study and survival of dingoes exceeded 84% on each site. Neither individual nor sequential rounds of baiting therefore resulted in a reduction in dingo density approaching 75%, which is necessary for dingo population control in this environment. Several factors are likely to have contributed to the limited effect of baiting, including bait uptake by non-target species, low encounter rate with baits and aversive responses to baits. Consideration of baiting practices, including bait rate, frequency and attractiveness, as well as evaluation of the net returns of baiting should be addressed in future work to ensure dingo control achieves its intended aims to reduce dingo abundance and/or impacts.