Balancing dingo conservation with human safety on Fraser Island: the numerical and demographic effects of humane destruction of dingoes

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Allen, BL
Higginbottom, K
Bracks, JH
Davies, N
Baxter, GS
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2015
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Australian dingoes are threatened by interbreeding with domestic dogs. As a refuge from further interbreeding, the conservation significance of dingoes on Fraser Island is unquestioned. However, some dingoes presenting genuine human safety risks are humanely destroyed. In this study, we explore the potential effects of this on the sustainability of the island's dingo population. Dingo abundance was 76–171 adult individuals during the mating (pre-whelping) season of 2012. A total of 110 dingoes were destroyed between 2001 and 2013. Approximately 66 per cent of known-age dingoes destroyed were <18 months old and 65 per cent of known-gender dingoes destroyed were male. In any given year, no more than four female dingoes of any age were destroyed during dingoes' annual mating and whelping seasons. On only one occasion was an adult (and subordinate) female dingo destroyed during this period. Available data therefore indicate that the spatially and temporally variable removal of so few female and/or adult animals from a population of this size is highly unlikely to have adverse effects on dingo population growth rates or breeding success. Adverse effects of humane destructions might be expected to increase if a substantially greater proportion of adult and/or female dingoes are targeted for destruction in the future.

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Australasian Journal of Environmental Management

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22

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2

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Environmental sciences

Veterinary sciences not elsewhere classified

Human society

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