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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(1)

Movements and habitat selection by wild dogs in eastern Victoria

Alan Robley A D, Andrew Gormley A, David M. Forsyth A, Alan N. Wilton B, Danielle Stephens C

A Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
B School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
C School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: alan.robley@dse.vic.gov.au
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To investigate movements and habitat selection by wild dogs we attached satellite-linked global positioning system (GPS) units to nine wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo and Canis lupus familiaris) captured in eastern Victoria in summer 2007. Units estimated locations at 30-min intervals for the first six months and then at 480-min intervals for six more months. DNA testing revealed all these wild dogs to be related. Home ranges of males were almost three times larger than those of females (males: 124.3 km2 ± 56.3, n = 4; females: 45.2 km2 ± 17.3, n = 5) and both sexes preferred subalpine grassland, shrub or woodland at the landscape and home-range scales. Wild dogs were recorded more often than expected within 25 m of roads and less often than expected within 25 m of watercourses. Wild dogs displayed higher-velocity movements with shallow turning angles (generally forwards) that connected spatial and temporal clusters comprising slower-velocity, shorter, and sharper turning movements. One wild dog travelled 230 km in 9 days before returning to its home range and another travelled 105 km in 87 days. The home-range sizes reported in this study are much larger than previously reported in south-eastern Australia. This finding, together with previous studies, suggests that the spatial scale at which wild dog management occurs needs to be reconsidered.

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