Australian Rangeland Society

Paul Novelly, Editor-in-Chief, The Rangeland Journal.  Email: pnovelly@gmail.com

 

Many issues confront livestock producers in Australia’s rangelands, and they often provoke opposing views and opinions.  Reconciling such diverse perspectives is often at the heart of rangeland management.  Prominent in Australia is the role and impact of dingoes (Canis dingo), Australia’s largest mammalian terrestrial predator.  Should dingoes be considered an apex predator and managed accordingly, since the persistence of many of Australia’s faunal species may be dependent on the behaviour of dingo populations? Or are dingoes simply a pest, creating substantial financial costs for livestock producers, and so be treated accordingly?

Landholder perspectives are an important and essential contribution to any rangeland-related debate, and a recent paper in The Rangeland Journal provides landholder views on this topic. The paper “Can dingoes increase graziers’ profits and help maintain Australia’s rangelands?” is now available on the Rangeland Journal CSIRO Publishing website (http://www.publish.csiro.au/rj) under the ‘On-Line Early’ list.  The authors, three of whom are cattle producers (Gill Campbell and Angus Emmett from Queensland and David Pollock from Western Australia) together with Barry Traill are all from ‘Landholders for Dingoes’, and they discuss their experiences of dingo predation and dingo predation rates with respect to cattle production (acknowledging that sheep and goat producers have different impacts warranting different measures), and provide their views on the positive impact of dingoes in reducing native herbivore and introduced pest (feral pigs, cats etc.) numbers, and the subsequent impacts on the rangeland ecosystem in general.  This leads on to a discussion as to whether a single ‘national’ response to dingoes is appropriate, or whether a more nuanced response is required.  Unfortunately, this paper is currently only free to download to ARS members, or those with links to a Journal subscription through their organization or agency.

This paper is what The Rangeland Journal classes as a ‘viewpoint paper’, papers we hope will stimulate discussion and response via either The Rangeland Management Newsletter (contact the Editor Noelene Duckett at arsnewslettereditor@gmail.com), or perhaps an article in The Rangeland Journal itself.  Undoubtedly, some Journal readers, be they livestock producers or not, will hold different views on dingoes to those of the authors, and I strongly encourage anyone with a ‘viewpoint’ on this topic to consider contributing to the debate.

And this discussion is not restricted to dingoes and Australian readers of the Journal.  Predators (wolves, coyotes, jackals among others) engender mixed attitudes and opinions among livestock producers and others in many countries.  The Journal published “Missing shots: has the possibility of shooting wolves been lacking for 20 years in France’s livestock protection measures?” (The Rangeland Journal, 2020, Vol. 42 (6), pages 401-413), another article discussing the impact of native predators on livestock, predator reintroduction, and the debate surrounding this topic.   This is an ‘open access’ article, able to be downloaded for free, and well worth a read if you have an interest in the topic.

So, please read these articles and consider responding (either to agree or disagree).  Your views are most welcome.