University of Tasmania
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The effects of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) as a disturbance agent on the natural environment

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posted on 2023-05-26, 06:08 authored by Holderness-Roddam, B
This study assesses the impact of domestic dogs on the natural environment. The principal issue investigated is that of disturbance and the consequences for native wildlife, particularly vertebrate species. In addition to the catastrophic effects of killing, maiming and orphaning of wildlife; disturbance can contribute to energetic loss through premature flight or reduced feed intake and reproductive disruption due to nest disturbance. Dogs have been implicated in disease transmission to native wildlife; with faecal contamination of waterways having potential negative affects for marine mammal health. Hybridisation with other canid species is also an issue of concern, as is expropriation of land for the production of food for pet dogs. The study commences with an overview of ecological disturbance. The literature review then assesses the role of domestic dogs in ecological disturbance, public attitudes towards compliance with dog management legislation and the remediation and mitigation of disturbance by dogs. Data obtained from the Resource Management and Conservation section of the Tasmanian Department of Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment regarding native wildlife presenting for care was analysed in order to determine the principal reported causes of death and injury to native wildlife in Tasmania. These results were then compared with data from the Australian Wildlife Health Centre - Wildlife Hospital at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria and the data submitted by Tasmanian veterinarians through a three month diary of wildlife presentations recorded by ten practices. The data is indicative of domestic dogs having a more deleterious effect than domestic cats on native wildlife in Tasmania; particularly in urban and suburban areas and on beaches.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2011 the Author

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  • Open

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