CITATION: Benjamin L. Allen, Erin Carmelito, Matt Amos, Mark S. Goullet, Lee R. Allen, James Speed, Matt Gentle, and Luke K.-P. Leung. Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 23028.
Knowledge of the resource requirements of urban predators can improve our understanding of their ecology and assist town planners and wildlife management agencies in developing management approaches that alleviate human-wildlife conflicts. Here we examine food and dietary items identified in scats of dingoes in peri-urban areas of north-eastern Australia to better understand their resource requirements and the potential for dingoes to threaten locally fragmented populations of native fauna. Our primary aim was to determine what peri-urban dingoes eat, and whether or not this differs between regions. We identified over 40 different food items in dingo scats, almost all of which were mammals. Individual species commonly observed in dingo scats included agile wallabies, northern brown bandicoots and swamp wallabies. Birds were relatively common in some areas but not others, as were invertebrates. Dingoes were identified as a significant potential threat to fragmented populations of koalas. Dietary overlap was typically very high or near-identical between regions, indicating that peri-urban dingoes ate the same types or sizes of prey in different areas. Future studies should seek to quantify actual and perceived impacts of, and human attitudes towards, peri-urban dingoes, and to develop management strategies with a greater chance of reducing human-wildlife conflicts.