Dingoes affect activity of feral cats, but do not exclude them from the habitat of an endangered macropod

Wang, Yiwei and Fisher, Diana O. (2012) Dingoes affect activity of feral cats, but do not exclude them from the habitat of an endangered macropod. Wildlife Research, 39 7: 611-620. doi:10.1071/WR11210

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Author Wang, Yiwei
Fisher, Diana O.
Title Dingoes affect activity of feral cats, but do not exclude them from the habitat of an endangered macropod
Journal name Wildlife Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1035-3712
1448-5494
Publication date 2012-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/WR11210
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 39
Issue 7
Start page 611
End page 620
Total pages 10
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic., Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2308 Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Abstract Context. The loss of large predators has been linked with the rise of smaller predators globally, with negative impacts on prey species (mesopredator release). Recent studies suggest that the dingo, Australia's top terrestrial predator, inhibits predation on native mammals by the invasive red fox, and therefore reduces mammal extinctions. Feral cats also have negative effects on native mammals, but evidence that dingoes suppress cats remains equivocal.
Formatted abstract
Context: The loss of large predators has been linked with the rise of smaller predators globally, with negative impacts on prey species (mesopredator release). Recent studies suggest that the dingo, Australia’s top terrestrial predator, inhibits predation on native mammals by the invasive red fox, and therefore reduces mammal extinctions. Feral cats also have negative effects on native mammals, but evidence that dingoes suppress cats remains equivocal.
Aims: We sought to examine whether dingoes might spatially or temporally suppress the activity of feral cats at a site containing the sole wild population of an endangered macropod subject to feral cat predation (the bridled nailtail wallaby).
Methods: We used camera traps to compare coarse and fine-scale spatial associations and overlaps in activity times of mammals between August 2009 and August 2010.
Key results: Dingoes and cats used the same areas, but there was evidence of higher segregation of activity times during wet months. Potential prey showed no spatial avoidance of dingoes. Peak activity times of dingoes and their major prey (the black-striped wallaby) were segregated during the wetter time of year (December to March). We did not find evidence that cats were spatially excluded from areas of high prey activity by dingoes, but there was low overlap in activity times between cats and bridled nailtail wallabies.
Conclusions: These findings support the contention that fear of dingoes can sometimes affect the timing of activity of feral cats. However, cats showed little spatial avoidance of dingoes at a coarse scale.
Implications: Control of dingoes should not be abandoned at the site, because the potential moderate benefits of reduced cat activity for this endangered and geographically restricted wallaby may not outweigh the detrimental effects of dingo predation.
Keyword Bridled nailtail wallaby
Endangered species
Mesopredator
Onychogalea fraenata
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 13 Nov 2012, 20:54:14 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences