Dingo density estimates and movements in equatorial Australia: Spatially explicit mark-resight models

Vanessa Gabriele-Rivet, Julie Arsenault, Victoria Brookes, Peter J.S. Fleming, Charlotte Nury, Michael P. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Australia is currently free of canine rabies. Spatio-ecological knowledge about dingoes in northern Australia is currently a gap that impedes the application of disease spread models and our understanding of the potential transmission of rabies, in the event of an incursion. We therefore conducted a one-year camera trap survey to monitor a dingo population in equatorial northern Australia. The population is contiguous with remote Indigenous communities containing free-roaming dogs, which potentially interact with dingoes. Based on the camera trap data, we derived dingo density and home range size estimates using maximum-likelihood, spatially explicit, mark–resight models, described dingo movements and evaluated spatial correlation and temporal overlap in activities between dingoes and community dogs. Dingo density estimates varied from 0.135 animals/km2 (95% CI = 0.127–0.144) during the dry season to 0.147 animals/km2 (95% CI = 0.135–0.159) during the wet season. The 95% bivariate Normal home range sizes were highly variable throughout the year (7.95–29.40 km2). Spatial use and daily activity patterns of dingoes and free-roaming community dogs, grouped over ~3 month periods, showed substantial temporal activity overlap and spatial correlation, highlighting the potential risk of disease transmission at the wild–domestic interface in an area of biosecurity risk in equatorial northern Australia. Our results have utility for improving preparedness against a potential rabies incursion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number865
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalAnimals
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2020

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