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A strategic approach to mitigating the impacts of wild canids: proposed activities of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre

P. J. S. Fleming A F , L. R. Allen B , S. J. Lapidge C , A. Robley D , G. R. Saunders A and P. C. Thomson E

A Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Department of Primary Industries, Orange Agricultural Institute, Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.

B Robert Wicks Pest Animal Research Centre, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, 203 Tor Street, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

C Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, 48 Oxford Terrace, Unley, SA 5061, Australia.

D Department of Sustainability and Environment, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.

E Vertebrate Pest Research Section, Department of Agriculture, Bougainvillea Avenue, Forrestfield, WA 6058, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(7) 753-762
Submitted: 10 January 2006  Accepted: 28 April 2006   Published: 8 June 2006


Wild canids (wild dogs and European red foxes) cause substantial losses to Australian livestock industries and environmental values. Both species are actively managed as pests to livestock production. Contemporaneously, the dingo proportion of the wild dog population, being considered native, is protected in areas designated for wildlife conservation. Wild dogs particularly affect sheep and goat production because of the behavioural responses of domestic sheep and goats to attack, and the flexible hunting tactics of wild dogs. Predation of calves, although less common, is now more economically important because of recent changes in commodity prices. Although sometimes affecting lambing and kidding rates, foxes cause fewer problems to livestock producers but have substantial impacts on environmental values, affecting the survival of small to medium-sized native fauna and affecting plant biodiversity by spreading weeds. Canid management in Australia relies heavily on the use of compound 1080-poisoned baits that can be applied aerially or by ground. Exclusion fencing, trapping, shooting, livestock-guarding animals and predator calling with shooting are also used.

The new Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre has 40 partners representing private and public land managers, universities, and training, research and development organisations. One of the major objectives of the new IACRC is to apply a strategic approach in order to reduce the impacts of wild canids on agricultural and environmental values in Australia by 10%. In this paper, the impacts, ecology and management of wild canids in Australia are briefly reviewed and the first cooperative projects that will address IACRC objectives for improving wild dog management are outlined.


The contributions of Australian Wool Innovation, Applied Biotechnologies Pty Ltd, Parisitec Ltd, Connovation Ltd, Nocturnal Wildlife Research Pty Ltd, David Dall, Bill Morris, Mick Davis, Andrew MacDougal, Helen Nicol and Rob Hunt are appreciated. Glenn Edwards, Peter Bird, Stuart Barber, David Jenkins and Nicky Marlow helped decide research priorities for IACRC. The suggestions of an anonymous reviewer improved the paper.


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