Wild dog risks to threatened wildlife

Wild dogs prey on a variety of animals including mammals, birds and reptiles of all sizes from insects to water buffalo. However, they prefer to eat small and medium-sized mammals when available, including native mice, dunnarts, bandicoots and wallabies.

Wild dogs can present significant risks to populations of many of  these species, and the continual influx of domestic dogs into the wild means there is a constant feral population that puts pressure on  vulnerable wildlife.

Wild dogs have been implicated in the decline of several species, both historically and in the recent past. For example, dingoes may have been responsible for the mainland extinction of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), as well as the decline of brushtail possums and other marsupials in the arid zone over the last 200 years.

Wild dogs have been implicated in the decline of several species, both historically and in the recent past.

Predation by wild dogs was recently listed as a Key Threatening Process for threatened species, populations and communities in New South Wales and is a known or potential threat to a variety of other native species elsewhere. There are presently 14 national-level recovery plans that identify wild dogs as a known or potential threat to some native mammal, bird and reptile species (Table 1). These species are all listed under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Table 1: Native species potentially or known to be threatened by wild dogs

Species type Common name Scientific name Adult weight (kg)

mammal

marsupial moles

Notorycetes typhlops,
N. caurinus

0.07

mammal

smoky mouse

Pseudomys fumeus

0.09

bird

black-breasted button-quail

Turnix melanogaster

0.1

mammal

golden bandicoot

Isoodon auratus

0.7

mammal

northern quoll

Dasyurus hallucatus

1.2

mammal

greater bilby

Macrotis lagotis

2.5

mammal

long-footed potoroo

Potorous longipes

2.5

bird

malleefowl

Leipoa ocellata

2.5

mammal

bridled nailtail wallaby

Onychogalea fraenata

8.0

mammal

Proserpine rock-wallaby

Petrogale persephone

8.8

mammal

koala

Phascolarctos cinereus

12

mammal

northern hairy-nosed wombat

Lasiorhinus krefftii

31

bird

southern cassowary

Casuarius casuarius johnsonii

60

reptile

marine turtles

various

The recovery plans set out research and management actions that aim to stop the threatened species’ decline and maximise their long-term survival in the wild. Several other plans are being prepared for the recovery of threatened species that would be potentially susceptible to predation by wild dogs should they re-establish in the places where these native species live. Because the impact of wild dogs on populations of threatened species can be severe, the risk to all wildlife (threatened or otherwise) should be considered in regional wild dog management plans.

Because the impact of wild dogs on populations of threatened species can be severe, the risk to all wildlife (threatened or otherwise) should be considered in regional wild dog management plans.


More information:

Coutts-Smith AJ, Mahon PS, Letnic M, and Downey PO (2007). The Threat Posed by Pest Animals to Biodiversity in New South Wales. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra.

Major R (2009). Predation and Hybridisation by Feral Dogs – Key Threatening Process Listing. New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Sydney.

Kerle JA, Foulkes JN, Kimber RG, Papenfus D (1992). The decline of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr 1798), in arid Australia. The Rangeland Journal 14:107–127.

Allen BL (2011). A comment on the distribution of historical and contemporary livestock grazing across Australia: Implications for using dingoes for biodiversity conservation. Ecological Management and Restoration 12:26–30.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Australian Government. www.environment.gov.au/epbc/

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2011
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2
Region Australia - national
Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Wild dog risks to threatened wildlife  [470 kb PDF]

Links

https://www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-animal-species/wild-dog/

Number PestSmart code: WDFS1