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23 December 2021 Are canid pest ejectors an effective control tool for wild dogs in an arid rangeland environment?
T. L. Kreplins, J. Miller, M. S. Kennedy
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Context. Wild dogs are a significant pest species of livestock production and native wildlife in Australia. A suite of control tools is used to mitigate predation impacts. Baiting with sodium fluoroacetate is the most commonly used control tool in Australia; however, its effectiveness can be reduced by interference by non-target species, and in some contexts by microbial degradation of the toxin. Canid pest ejectors (CPEs) are a mechanical device with an attractant ‘lure head’ designed to eject a lethal toxin into the mouth of canids pulling on the lure head. A range of lure heads can be used to attract canids to pull, and trigger CPEs.

Aims. We aimed to determine whether uptake of CPEs by wild dogs in an arid rangeland environment could cause a decline in a wild dog population. We also aimed to determine whether there are particular lure heads that increase the rate of CPEs being triggered by wild dogs.

Methods. We deployed one hundred CPEs over four sessions of control across three properties in the southern rangelands of Western Australia from 2018 to 2020. Each session consisted of 2 months of CPE deployment with two different lure heads, totalling eight lure head types over the entire study. All CPEs were monitored using camera traps.

Key results. Wild dog density varied over the study period. In all four control sessions, a decrease in wild dog density was recorded (–46%, –5%, –13%, –38%). Wild dog activity events on camera and their interest in CPEs differed between sessions and lures (i.e. higher with scent-based lures). Non-target species did not interfere with CPEs significantly, despite a higher number of activity events by non-target species than wild dogs.

Conclusions. CPEs caused a reduction of 5–46% of wild dog density when deployed in the southern rangelands of Western Australia. Non-target interference was minimal when using CPEs for wild dog control.

Implications. Use of scent-based lures on felt lure heads is recommended for successful use of CPEs for wild dog control in arid rangeland environments. Future on-ground wild dog control should include CPEs as a complementary tool for the reduction of wild dog density.

Journal compilation © CSIRO 2022
T. L. Kreplins, J. Miller, and M. S. Kennedy "Are canid pest ejectors an effective control tool for wild dogs in an arid rangeland environment?," Wildlife Research 49(3), 227-236, (23 December 2021).
Received: 3 March 2021; Accepted: 25 July 2021; Published: 23 December 2021
camera traps
canid pest ejector
invasive species
lethal control
wild dog
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