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17 September 2012 Scat happens: spatiotemporal fluctuation in dingo scat collection rates
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Abstract

The number of dingo (Canis lupus dingo and hybrids) scats collected from an area has been used as a measure of pack stability in order to make inferences about dingo pack structures and function. In doing so, some studies sampling different sites at different times/seasons have been forced to assume that scat collection rates vary little throughout the year in order to attribute observed site/treatment differences to the effect of interventions (e.g. lethal control), rather than natural spatiotemporal variation in scat densities. In this study, 4112 dingo scats systematically collected from adjacent dingo-baited and unbaited areas at three arid-zone sites on a regular basis over 2–4 years are used to test this assumption. Scat collection rates varied between treatments, sites and surveys, with substantial differences occurring within a few weeks or months. Similar temporal trends between treatments at each site demonstrated that scat collection rates fluctuated independently of dingo control. It was concluded that observations of different scat collection rates between different sites sampled at different times may simply reflect normal spatiotemporal variability in scat densities, which may not reflect absolute dingo abundance.

© CSIRO 2012
Benjamin L. Allen "Scat happens: spatiotemporal fluctuation in dingo scat collection rates," Australian Journal of Zoology 60(2), 137-140, (17 September 2012). https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO12038
Received: 30 August 2011; Accepted: 1 August 2012; Published: 17 September 2012
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