Carnivore conservation and management is complex and expensive, and significant ongoing management costs may inhibit the development of new tools and any subsequent transition away from lethal control. We review and compare the economic costs and benefits of dingoes and domestic dogs in Australia and suggest that public affinity for domestic dogs may be co-opted into yielding more positive management outcomes for dingoes. Whereas Australians spend over AU$10 billion annually on purchasing and maintaining 4.2 million domestic dogs, landowners and government spend at least AU$30 million attempting to limit the density and distribution of dingoes, feral dogs, and their hybrids. These contrasting investments highlight the dual response of society towards domestic and wild members of the Canis genus. We suggest that a modest conservation levy on the sale of pet dogs or dog food, or both, could secure long-term funding to support efficacious non-lethal management of dingo impacts. A modest levy could generate AU$30 million annually, funding the development of non-lethal dingo-management tools without compromising existing management practices while new tools are investigated. Ultimately, a transition away from controlling dingoes through culling or exclusion fencing, to managing the negative impacts of dingoes could result in both more successful and sustainable management outcomes of dingoes and support the ecological, cultural and economic benefits they confer as Australia’s apex predator.
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Vol. 46 • No. 5