Date of this Version
Allen, B.L.; Engeman, R.M.; Leung, L.K-P. 2014. The short-term effects of a routine poisoning campaign on the movements and detectability of a social top-predator. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 21(3): 2178-2190.
Top-predators can be important components of resilient ecosystems, but they are still controlled in many places to mitigate a variety of economic, environmental and/or social impacts. Lethal control is often achieved through the broadscale application of poisoned baits. Understanding the direct and indirect effects of such lethal control on subsequent movements and behaviour of survivors is an important pre-requisite for interpreting the efficacy and ecological outcomes of top predator control. In this study, we use GPS tracking collars to investigate the fine-scale and short-term movements of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo and other wild dogs) in response to a routine poison-baiting program as an example of how a common, social top-predator can respond (behaviourally) to moderate levels of population reduction. We found no consistent control-induced differences in home range size or location, daily distance travelled, speed of travel, temporal activity patterns or road/trail usage for the seven surviving dingoeswemonitored immediately before and after a typical lethal control event. These data suggest that the spatial behaviour of surviving dingoes was not altered in ways likely to affect their detectability, and if control-induced changes in dingoes' ecological function did occur, these may not be related to altered spatial behaviour or movement patterns.