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Title: Aspects of the Management of Wild Dogs ('Canis familiaris') in North-eastern New South Wales
Contributor(s): Fleming, Peter J S (author); Jarman, Peter  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1997
Copyright Date: 1996
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: 1). Populations of wild dogs, 'Canis familiaris', in north-eastern New South Wales require management to prevent the predation of livestock, and for the conservation of the dingo, 'C.f dingo', proportion of the population. A study of the management of wild dogs was conducted in escarpment areas of north-eastern NSW from 1991 to 1993. The aims of the study were: to assess the efficacy of a replacement-baiting strategy and aerial baiting for reducing the abundance of wild dogs; to examine population after baiting; to investigate the efficacy of a "buffer zone" in reducing predation on sheep; to determine the effects of aerial baiting and replacement-baiting on some other predators and mammalian prey of wild dogs; and to develop strategies for the management of wild dogs. 2). Indices of the abundance of wild dogs and red foxes, 'Vulpes vulpes', were calculated from visitation to stations, containing non-toxic baits, before and after a replacement-baiting program. The replacement-baiting program, where 1080-impregnated baits that were removed by animals were replaced with fresh baits, was shown to significantly reduce the abundance of wild dogs (mean reduction 76.1 %) and red foxes (mean reduction 90.8%). Baits were buried to prevent birds removing them and wild dogs and foxes were still able to locate the baits. The reductions in the populations of wild dogs were greater than the reductions reported in previous studies of ground baiting. 3). The hazard of the replacement-baiting program to populations of non-target animals was insubstantial. Very few baits were investigated or removed by spotted-tailed quolls ('Dasyurus maculatus'), the non-target animal most likely to be affected by baits containing 1080 for wild dog control. The effects of reducing the abundance of populations of wild canids, by replacement-baiting, on the management of populations of non-target animals are discussed. 4). The use of aerial baiting, to reduce wild dog populations, was found to be efficacious. Corrected indices of the abundance of wild dogs were reduced by between 66.3 and 84.5% as a result of aerial baiting. The reductions were of similar magnitude to Western Australian studies of aerial baiting and greater than previous studies of ground baiting in south-eastern Australia. 5). An uncontrolled investigation of the buffer zone concept, initially proposed for Western Australian conditions by Thomson (1984b), inferred that the buffer zone was successful in reducing predation of livestock by wild dogs. In this study, which was also uncontrolled, repopulation of wild dogs had occurred in 12 months. The predation of livestock by wild dogs was lower in the late winter and spring after aerial baiting. However, predation records showed an increase in the predation of sheep during summer and autumn. 6). Randomisation intervention analysis (RIA) showed aerial baiting to be successful in reducing the abundance indices of red foxes. The effect of aerial baiting on populations of spotted-tailed quolls and feral cats, 'Felis catus', was not determined, but both species were present before and after baiting. 7). The overall abundance of the prey of wild canids was greater in an aerially baited site than in an equivalent untreated site. It is possible that the removal of wild dogs and foxes by aerial baiting has increased the abundance of macropods in the baited site. The management implications of this possibility are discussed. 8). Two techniques for assessing the abundance of wild canids were used in the study. Both techniques relied upon the detection of the signs of the activity of wild canids. The applicability of both methods to the vexatious problem of quantifying the abundance of wild canids is discussed. 9). A strategy for the management of wild dogs is proposed in order to mitigate against the predation of livestock. I also consider and discuss strategies: to control wild canids while conserving spotted-tailed quolls; to slow the dilution of the 'C.f dingo' gene pool with 'C.f familiaris' genes; and to conserve populations of endangered native mammals by managing populations of wild canids.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 1996 - Peter J S Fleming
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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