Saturday, 21 February 2015

'Rewilding' dingoes could help reverse decline of Australia's native wildlife

Scientists say altering dingo-proof fencing to allow the predators into a NSW national park to prey upon pests could help restore balance to the ecosystem



Tuesday 17 February 2015 03.02 GMTLast modified on Tuesday 17 February 201503.14 GMT

Australia’s lengthy “dingo fence” should be altered to allow dingoes into a national park to test whether they can help reverse the precipitous decline of native wildlife, a group of conservation experts has recommended.

The bold experiment would involve remodelling the dingo-proof fence that stretches from eastern Queensland to the South Australian coastline. At more than 5,500km long, the barrier, originally constructed in the 1880s to keep out rabbits, is the longest fence in the world.

Altering the fence’s boundary would enable dingoes to enter the Sturt national park in New South Wales, allowing scientists to assess whether dingoes, long reviled by many people as dangerous to livestock and even humans, could in fact act as saviours for threatened native animals.

Dingoes are known to prey upon kangaroos, emus and feral goats and it’s thought they also deter foxes and feral cats – the two introduced predators blamed for causing massive declines in animals such as bilbies, bandicoots and bettongs across Australia.

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