In the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, dingoes are subject to intense baiting, trapping and shooting as they are a known predator of many livestock species. However, removal of top order predators from ecosystems doesn’t come without repercussions. Studies of dingo removal in arid Australia have demonstrated that the removal of dingoes promotes an environment where the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cat (Felis catus) can flourish in the absence of any top-down suppression – known as the mesopredator release hypothesis. My research involves investigating what effects dingoes are having at landscape scales within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area on flora and fauna. I would like to address the question of are dingoes acting as ‘guard dogs’ for mammal species threatened by foxes and cats? If dingoes are having positive effects for flora and fauna, which we suspect they are, why is the policy surrounding dingoes so contentious?
Supervisor: Associate Professor Mike Letnic
Co-Supervisor: Dr Rosalie Chapple