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TOP ORDER PREDATOR

Domestic dogs are not trophic regulators as top order predators as are wolves and dingoes. By removing these specialized canids and allowing hybrids to exist allows for ecological degradation rather than trophic regulation.

The absence of top order predators world wide is causing great concern among conservation scientists and efforts are being made to restore populations and to re-introduce these animals as essential for restoration of ecological regions.

In many regions of Australia, the absence of our top order predator, the dingo, has greatly influenced the huge increases in feral animal populations, including feral dogs, foxes, cats, pigs, goats, rabbits, camels and donkeys.

Top Order PredatorGoats

Dingoes are shown to suppress feral animals such as foxes and goats.

These feral animals exploit the fragile Australian ecosystem to the serious detriment of our native fauna and flora. This combined with the absence of our top order predator, large scale land clearing and seriously degraded landscapes from farming activities is heading our country towards an ecology which will not be sustainable. Dingoes do predate on feral animals, but they are absent in many areas where they could have an effect. They are absent in areas where there has been huge increases in macropod populations due to lack of predation.

KangaroosDingo predation managing macropod population growth within this valley. Note the condition and height of the grass.


Wild dog/dingo control is carried out in this valley. Predation on macropods is reduced, allowing numbers to increase. Note the condition and height of the grass.Kangaroos

Strong anecdotal evidence is emerging that dingoes existing in stable packs actually suppress foxes and cats in the environment. (Dickman, Glen 2005, O'Neil, A 2002) Fox and cat suppression promotes increased biodiversity. Smaller Australian animals living within a dingo’s territory may have a better chance of surviving if cats and foxes are absent.

The social dynamics and physical size of a dingo allows it to predate on animals equal to or larger than itself, such as kangaroos. This means that dingoes do not have to rely on smaller animal species for food. Foxes and cats are independent animals. Their physical size prevents them from predating on animals much larger than themselves. Many of Australia’s native animals are small and can easily became prey to foxes and cats. These animals are known as critical weight range species.

Stable packs will seriously defend their resources and protect their territories from introgression by feral or domestic dogs, foxes and cats.

NumbatQuokka

Numbats [above left] and Quokkas [above right] are two
species that may benefit the presence of dingoes.