Prevalence of threatened native species in canid scats from coastal and near-coastal landscapes in south-eastern Australia

  • Claridge A
  • Mills D
  • Barry S
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Abstract

Predator scat analysis was used to infer the potential impact of wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. familiaris and hybrids of the two) on threatened native terrestrial mammals in coastal and near-coastal southern New South Wales, Australia. Prey items recorded in wild dog scats were compared with those occurring in scats of the red fox collected at the same study sites. Six threatened mammal species were recorded in either wild dog or fox scats: eastern pygmy possum, grey-headed flying fox, long-nosed potoroo, southern brown bandicoot, white-footed dunnart and yellow-bellied glider. The prevalence of these threatened species in fox scats was significantly higher than in wild dog scats. Otherwise, wild dogs mostly consumed larger prey items such as swamp wallabies and wombats whereas foxes more heavily preyed on small mammals such as antechinus and rats. Our results suggest that foxes are the major threat to threatened mammal species in the study region. Land management agencies in south-eastern mainland Australia should therefore focus on controlling foxes for biodiversity gain.

Author-supplied keywords

  • diet
  • forests
  • foxes
  • wild dogs

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Authors

  • Andrew W. Claridge

  • Douglas J. Mills

  • Simon C. Barry

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