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Keywords:

  • arid zone;
  • competition;
  • kangaroos;
  • sheep

Abstract Competition between red kangaroos and sheep in the more arid areas of Australia was examined by means of a large-scale manipulative experiment incorporating two replicates of each of three treatments: sheep-only, kangaroo-only and a sheepAangaroo mixture. The study was conducted over two years during which time pasture conditions varied markedly. Competition was intermittent, occurring only during a period of climatically related food depletion (semi-drought). At this time there was a large increase in kangaroo densities due to an influx of kangaroos from neighbouring areas. Competition reduced live-weight in sheep but had no significant impact on wool production. This effect was linked to diet selection. Competition caused red kangaroos to favour paddocks destocked of sheep but had no detectable effect on the condition of kangaroos.