Understanding the ecological roles of apex predators remains an important field of study. The influence of apex predators on ecosystems can be either profound or negligible in different situations, and uncertainty still exists about the ecological roles of most top-predators, including Australian dingoes. This uncertainly is maintained by a dearth of experimental evidence investigating their roles. Such evidence is indispensable if dingo management is to be evidence-based. In this report, we discuss a recent experiment where dingoes were released on to an island as vertebrate biocontrol tools intended to eradicate feral goats and restore native vegetation being threatened by the goats. The experiment was successful, and the dingoes reduced the goat population to one or perhaps two male goats within ~2 years. This predator introduction experiment elucidated dingo’s effects on small livestock, their per capita predation rates, and their invasiveness or their ability to adapt and change their environment. The experiment confirmed that dingoes have the capacity to decimate populations of small livestock species and trigger a trophic cascade by reducing herbivory on vegetation. We encourage further manipulative experiments to explore the ubiquity of these results in different contexts.
Elucidating dingo’s ecological roles: contributions from the Pelorus Island feral goat biocontrol project
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Benjamin L. Allen, Lee R. Allen, Michael Graham, Matt Buckman; Elucidating dingo’s ecological roles: contributions from the Pelorus Island feral goat biocontrol project. Australian Zoologist 1 June 2021; 41 (3): 374–387. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2020.018
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