Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Evaluation of three relative abundance indices for assessing dingo populations

L Allen, R Engeman and H Krupa

Wildlife Research 23(2) 197 - 205
Published: 1996


Three methods of assessing relative abundance of wild canids were evaluated on a population of dingoes, Canis lupus dingo (Corbett), on a cattle station in south-westem Queensland. The tested indices relied on measurements of activity based on spoor. Two of the techniques attracted the target species to tracking stations through the use of a novel (fatty acid scent) or food-based (buried meat) attractant. The third index (activity) measured the number of dingo tracks crossing tracking stations placed at 1-km intervals along a road transect. All three indices had a high level of agreement for detecting differences in relative abundance, with correlation coefficients exceeding 0.85. When the stations were analysed in 1-km segments, the activity index proved the most sensitive, producing proportionally more positive responses than either of the other two indices irrespective of whether the tracking stations were assessed at 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-day intervals. Inconsistencies between indices existed, with the derived abundance indices not showing the anticipated reduction following population reduction. The effect of season and the interaction between dingo activity and index methodology are discussed.


© CSIRO 1996

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