Introduced predators are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in Australia, and considerable effort is spent culling populations of dingo and the red fox to protect livestock and native species.
But culling has unintended and sometimes perverse consequences.
In their 2018 paper, Not all predators are equal: a continent-scale analysis of the effects of predator control on Australian mammals, researchers Daniel Hunter, Malgorzata Lagisz, Viyanna Leo, Shinichi Nakagawa and Mike Letnic have analysed and compared the impact that dingo and fox control programs have on other mammal species.
Their analysis, published in Mammal Review (pdf) provides evidence that lethal control of dingoes and foxes has different outcomes for different mammal species.
"Our results highlight unintended and perverse outcomes of lethal predator control on Australian mammals.
"We recommend that land management agencies take the results of this study into consideration when planning lethal control programmes targeting dingoes and foxes because, depending on the target canid, these programmes result in different outcomes for other mammal species.
"Removal programmes targeting dingoes and/or foxes can result in increased abundances of introduced predators and, ultimately, have far-reaching effects on many mammal species."
Daniel Hunter's study of dingo ecology in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area was completed as a PhD project at the University of New South Wales under the supervision of A/Prof Mike Letnic and Co-Supervisor Dr Rosalie Chapple from the BMWHI.
Dan’s documentary film, Battle in the Bush, explores the role of predators in Australian forests.
Read more: Not all predators are equal: a continent-scale analysis of the effects of predator control on Australian mammals (download pdf).