Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Understanding canid biology helps harness advances in non-lethal control of Australian canids (#669)

Ben Allen 1 , Lee Allen 2
  1. University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
  2. Biosecurity Queensland, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Predation of livestock by native and introduced canids is a major source of human-wildlife conflict globally, and lethal control of canids is commonly undertaken to mitigate these impacts in human-dominated systems. However, a suite of recent Australian research activities highlight several potential benefits to emerging non-lethal control approaches. GPS-collaring studies of dingoes and maremma guardian dogs have shown that maremmas do not establish territories and exclude dingoes, but rather thwart predation events through boisterous and threatening vocalisations and behaviour towards dingoes. Within the last decade, a resurgence of pest-proof fencing across some pastoral zones has also created over 6,700 km of new fencing, inhibiting canid migration into over 39 areas totalling over 43,000 km2 in size. Light- and sound-emitting alarm devices are being used to discourage movement of problem wildlife through open gates (roadways) along these fences. But, preliminary testing of these devices has yielded lacklustre results showing that some species habituate and completely ignore them. New predator aversion collar technologies in development also show great promise for resolving a variety of human-wildlife conflict applications worldwide. Key to harnessing the benefits of these non-lethal approaches is an understanding of canid biology. Predation of livestock and the lethal control of predators will probably continue to be common for the foreseeable future, but in many cases, advances in non-lethal control of predators are likely to provide acceptable, practical, affordable and effective alternatives.