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Keywords:

  • Canis lupus dingo;
  • Canis lupus familiaris;
  • dingo;
  • feral predator;
  • fox;
  • mesopredator release;
  • predator:prey;
  • Vulpes vulpes;
  • wild dog

Abstract  The management of wild canids (wild dogs/dingoes and foxes) presents a conservation dilemma for land managers across Australia. These canids are predators of wildlife and domestic stock but dingoes are considered native and anecdotal reports suggest that they may suppress foxes such that dingo/dog conservation may have a net benefit to wildlife. This study examines dietary and spatial interactions between wild dogs and foxes in the Greater Blue Mountains region of NSW to address the possibility of suppression through competitive exclusion by dogs on foxes. Predator diets were compared using faecal analysis as well as an analysis of 19 dietary studies from similar forest habitats in eastern Australia. Spatial relationships were examined using data from an extensive canid control programme. Diets of wild dogs and foxes showed a high degree of overlap in species taken, indicating potential for competition. But there was also evidence of resource partitioning with the size and arboreality of mammalian prey differing between the two predators. Wild dogs and foxes responded to different landscape-scale variation in the physical environment, but there was no clear evidence of large-scale differences in their distribution. At the fine scale there was a negative association between these predators that indicated possible temporal avoidance or localized habitat shifts. Therefore, there is evidence for dietary competition and fine-scale exclusion, but no support for landscape-scale exclusion of foxes by wild dogs in the Blue Mountains.