Sunday, 30 September 2012

Dingo repopulation could control feral animals

Scientists say governments need to seriously consider reintroducing dingoes to the landscape in order to protect vulnerable native species.

Dingoes cause hundreds of thousands of dollars damage each year to livestock and there have been huge efforts to cull them by laying poisonous baits and shooting them.
But this has allowed feral species like cats and foxes to thrive and experts say the current approach is counter-productive.
About 40 per cent of the country's native species are listed as threatened or close to extinction, thanks to the explosion in numbers of feral cats and foxes.
Dr Tony Friend, the president of the Australian Mammal Society, says trying to control these animals is a losing battle.

"We are getting reasonably good at controlling foxes in the local areas but cats are a huge problem, partly exacerbated by removing foxes, so once the foxes are taken out, cats do well and basically step into the feet of the foxes," he said.
Research is being conducted Australia-wide to see if bringing back dingoes will help control these pests.

One recent study in South Australia's north recorded a reduction in feral cat and fox numbers with the introduction of dingoes.

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