Nomination Form for listing a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (epbc act)




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Evidence that the threatening process could cause a native species or ecological community to become eligible for listing in any category, other than conservation dependant:



Dingo (Canis lupus dingo):
Significant evidence indicates that the dingo is already eligible for a threatened species listing under the EPBC Act. A nomination to list the species as endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) is currently being assessed by the NSW Scientific Committee. The dingo is listed as endangered on the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species. The use of 1080 baiting in wild dog control is believed to be a threat to remaining dingo populations in core dingo habitat areas (XXXX XXXX pers. comm. March 2005).
The dingo is ostensibly protected in all National Parks, but is recognised as a pest animal, requiring eradication in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and baiting is carried out in National Parks in all these states. The dingo is not officially declared a pest animal in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory, but is still targeted with 1080 poison in these states.
1080 baiting can impact on dingoes directly and indirectly.
Directly

Canids (foxes, wild dogs and dingoes) are the most sensitive animal group with respect to the toxic effects of 1080 (Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority 2005a; Anon, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). 1080 baiting programs directly target dingo populations, therefore 1080 baiting has an obvious direct impact on the dingo. It is difficult to quantify the level of reductions of dingoes from direct poisoning, as carcasses are rarely distinguished from hybrid dogs.


Indirectly

The use of 1080 baiting in wild dog control is a major cause of decline in pure dingoes as it facilitates hybridisation. Hybrids exist in all populations in Australia and the portion of hybrids appears to be increasing. Wilton (2001) states that estimates of the proportion of hybrids in populations are as high as 78% in some areas, while Corbett (in Dickmann and Lunney 2001) notes surveys in NSW, in which 100% of samples were hybrids.
Fleming et al. (2001) states that the behavioural differences between dingoes and domestic dogs are great enough to make it difficult for dogs to infiltrate dingo society and breed. Dingoes typically live in tight knit packs with one dominant breeding female, which breeds only once a year. Stable dingo packs strongly defend their territory and prevent dispersing dogs from colonising and thus avoiding hybridisation. According to Eldridge et al. (2002) and XXXX XXXX (pers comm., March 2005), 1080 baiting can cause the male-female hierarchy in a dingo pack to collapse, through the loss of dominant animals. This loss of social cohesion encourages increased fecundity and a higher likelihood of dingoes breeding with immigrant domestic and hybrid dogs.
Furthermore “evidence presented by Fleming et al. (1996) showed that aerial baiting was efficient in reducing wild-living dogs by 66-84%, however dog numbers returned to their initial abundance within one year” (Meek and Shields 2001). There are countless numbers of dogs in rural districts and these dogs flow into the dingoes’ domain after a 1080 poisoning event. Thus 1080 baiting causes the amount of hybrids to increase at the expense of pure dingoes (Eldridge et al. (2002) and XXXX XXXX pers. comm. March 2005).
Note: The above evidence suggests that 1080 baiting would not have indirect benefits for dingoes, by reducing wild dog numbers and thus reducing the probability of hybridisation, particularly when considering that dingoes are equally susceptible to poisoning.
Conservation status of the dingo

According to the Fleming et al. (2001) pure dingoes are extinct in much of eastern and southern Australia as a direct result of 1080 baiting campaigns. Fleming et al. (2001) also state that the extinction of pure dingoes on the mainland is inevitable unless there are changes to Government policies on the management of wild dogs.


According to Fleming et al. (2001 in IUCN 2004) remnant populations of pure dingoes occur mostly in the northern, north-western and central regions of Australia; dingoes are extremely rare in southern and north-eastern regions; and are probably extinct in south-eastern and south-western regions.
XXXX XXXX (pers comm., June 2005), of the University of New South Wales, provided the nominator with the most recent genetic data on the proportion of hybrids in dingo populations in NSW and the ACT. This data indicates that out of the 735 individuals sampled, only 142 were pure dingoes. This is only 19% of the population sampled.
Corbett (in Dickman and Lunney 2001) states that under current threats, it is likely that most populations of pure dingoes will be extinct by the end of the 21st century. Research carried out by Dr Alan Wilton (reported by Davidson 2004) has indicated that dingoes could reach extinction within 50 years, if current threats continue.
The nature of data on dingo declines presents difficulties in determining the level of reduction in the species. However Dr Alan Wilton’s findings indicate that the dingo would meet criterion 5 to be listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act (criterion 5 requires a 10% chance of extinction within 100 years).
1080 Baiting in New South Wales

In NSW 1080 aerial baiting for wild dog control is carried out extensively, particularly in Kosciusko National Park. The dingo population in Kosciusko National Park is under particular threat from 1080 baiting. According to XXXX XXXX (pers. comm. 2005) the Kosciusko dingo population is one of the seven the most important remaining populations of pure dingoes in Australia. It is also a rare example of the ‘alpine type’ dingo subpopulation (XXXX XXXX, pers. comm. 2005). The Kosciusko National Park is regularly targeted by large-scale aerial 1080 baiting campaigns. In 2005 alone, at least five large-scale aerial baiting campaigns were carried out in the Kosciusko National Park area. Dr Alan Wilton’s latest data on dingoes in Kosciusko National Park paints a sad picture. Out of 106 wild dogs sampled, only 13 of these were pure dingoes.


1080 Baiting in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory has a long history of 1080 use in dingo control. By 1979 80% of all pastoralists’ properties had been involved with 1080 aerial baiting programs. At this time some sections of the community began to raise concerns that dingo numbers had decreased to such low levels that they were in danger of localised extinction (Eldridge et al. 2002). An attempted moratorium on 1080 aerial baiting was rejected following pressure from the pastoral industry (Honner 1983 in Eldridge et al. 2002). The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory is now responsible for 1080 baiting programs, however 1080 aerial baiting is still carried out annually in areas known to have dingo populations (Eldridge et al. 2002). According to Eldridge et al. (2002) 1080 baiting for dingoes is carried out, with very little regard to actual levels of calf predation. Eldridge et al. (2002) suggests that such indiscriminate baiting of dingoes puts the stability and social structure of pure dingo packs at risk in the NT.


1080 Baiting in Western Australia

We note that, while most native animals in Western Australia have a high tolerance to 1080 poison, dingoes in these areas are still sensitive to the toxin (Martin and Twigg 2002). In Western Australia over 3.7 million hectares of conservation estate (predominantly in the south-west of the state) is aerially baited for foxes at least four times a year under the Western Shield program (CALM 2005). Discussions between the nominator and CALM have revealed that dingoes are known to be killed by these baits. Wild dog baiting (including dingoes) is carried out within and adjoining pastoral leases in Western Australia (CALM 2005).


1080 baiting in Victoria

In Victoria 1080 baiting for foxes is carried out under the Southern Ark program, whereby approximately one million hectares in Gippsland, is baited continuously. As stated above dingoes are known to be killed by fox baits. Also, baits targeting wild dogs and dingoes are laid in specific areas close to farmland. The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment is currently carrying out 1080 aerial baiting trails, targeting wild dogs, in north-east Victoria. Aerial baiting has previously been prohibited in Victoria as it is the most indiscriminate method of baiting. The aim of these trials is to allow the long-term introduction of aerial baiting for wild dogs, in north-east Victoria and Gippsland (XXXX XXXX pers. comm. January 2006).


1080 baiting in South Australia

Dingo and wild dog control in South Australia is separated into sheep and cattle zones. These zones are separated by a dog proof fence. Within the sheep zone, the policy objective of the Animal and Plant Control Commission is to maintain complete eradication of the dingo. Within a buffer area outside and immediately adjacent to the dog fence the policy aim is to reduce the number of dingoes present. In the cattle zone the control of dingoes is less concentrated and only occasional 1080 baiting is carried out (Animal and Plant Control Commission (1993).


1080 baiting in Queensland

In Queensland, baiting of dingoes and wild dogs is extensive. 1080 baits are regularly, aerially dispersed through more than 15 million ha of National Parks and forest during mating season, when feral dogs and dingoes are most active. A wild dog barrier fence extends through Queensland and baiting is carried out on both sides of the fence.


Conclusion

1080 baiting campaigns are a key threatening process causing the pure dingo to be eligible for listing in a category, other than conservation dependant under the EPBC Act. Farmer lobby groups have considerable influence on the Rural Lands Protection Boards that approve pest control plans for wild dogs. These Boards continue to urge that core dingo habitat areas such as Kosciusko be targeted for aerial baiting programs.


Note: The Australian Government classifies the Australian dingo as a native species, as it was well established in Australia before European settlement (Australian Dingo Conservation Association 2005). Included in the definition of a “native species” under section 528 of the EPBC Act is:
native species means a species:

(f) that was present in Australia or an external Territory before 1400
The most recent evidence from mitochondrial DNA (Savolainen et al. 2004) suggests that dingoes arrived on the continent around 5,000 years ago. Therefore C. lupis dingo is defined as a native species under the EPBC Act as it was present in Australia before 1400.
Eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus)
The eastern quoll is listed as endangered under the NSW TSC Act and as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. In their advice to the Minister on listing this species, the NSW Scientific Committee stated that “its population and distribution have been reduced to a critical level …and it faces severe threatening processes”.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (Threatened Species Information) lists 1080 baiting as a major threatening process for the eastern quoll and states “baiting of dingoes results in direct poisoning (Belcher 1998) and changes the composition of predators, reduced dingo numbers favours foxes which compete with [eastern] quolls (Gilmore & Parnaby 1994)”.
A study carried out by Belcher (1998) found that eastern quolls detected, dug up and consumed buried 1080 baits; and could consume up to 1.5 baits in a single meal. Belcher (1998) concluded by stating, “the buried-bait technique is not specific for introduced predators”.
Furthermore, other studies have indicated very clearly that quolls are heavily impacted on by this control method (see section on the listed tiger quoll, spot-tailed quoll, spotted-tail quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus – south east mainland population)).
Despite being eligible for a listing, the eastern quoll is not listed as a threatened species under the EPBC Act. Evidence indicates that 1080 baiting is likely to be a contributing factor to the critical decline in the eastern quoll. The species is in fact believed to possibly be extinct on the mainland (Parks Flora and Fauna Division 2001), however some sources claim that this is yet to be confirmed (NPWS Threatened Species Information). Considering the extremely critical conservation status of this species, it is concerning that 1080 baiting is being carried out in areas that possibly contain remaining populations.
Data on the potential impact of 1080 baiting on this species is limited, so the nominator can not provide any further information.

Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii)

According to McIlroy (1982a), 1080 baiting in NSW has a significant impact on populations of brown antechinus. Research carried out by McIlroy (1982a) in the Brindabella Range, NSW, found that aerial baiting, in particular, has a negative impact on this species.


McIlroy (1982a) examined an area subject to 1080 baiting (Area A) and an area not subject to 1080 baiting (Area B). After baiting Area A contained 73% less brown antechinus than Area B, even though before the baiting Area A had 23% more brown antechinus than Area B.
McIlroy (1982a) states “…it is evident from the results that the higher density of baiting and/or higher concentration of 1080 involved in the simulated aerial baiting had a greater reducing effect on brown antechinus numbers than those associated with trail baiting”.
McIlroy (1982a) also states that this species would only need to eat a bait containing 0.015mg of 1080 to have a 73-100% chance of being killed.
Data on the potential impact of 1080 baiting on this species is limited, so the nominator can not provide any further information.
Other species at risk:
Table 3 lists the additional species known to take 1080 baits and table 4 lists the additional species known to be killed by 1080. Due to limited information available on the potential impact of 1080 baiting on these species, the nominator is unable to determine whether it threatens their survival. Tables 3 and 4 indicate that there is a potential for 1080 baiting to impact on a large number of species. This information also highlights the lack of research that has been carried out on the potential impact of 1080, which is concerning considering that this method of pest control is so widely and commonly used in Australia.

Table 3: Additional non-target species known to take baits containing 1080

Source: Denny (unpublished) and Glenn and Dickman (2003a and 2003b)


Mammals and Reptiles


Birds


Ningaui spp. *

Dasyurus hallucatus *

Planigale maculata *

Sminthopsis dolichura

Sminthopsis crassicaudata

Sminthopsis hirtipes

Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecular)

Mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus caninus)

Grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)

Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolour)

Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

Bush rat (Rattus fuscipes)

Swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus)

Long nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus)

Pseudomys hermannsbergensis *

Leggadina forresti *

Zyzomys argurus *

Rattus tunneyi

Notomys mitchelli

Mastacomys fuscus

‘Rats’


‘Goannas’

Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)


Crimson rosella

Galah


Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Wonga pidgeon

Common bronzewing

Maned duck

Whistling kite

Little eagle

Brown falcon

Nankeen kestrel

Brown Goshawk

Pink robin

Eastern yellow robin

Olive whistler

Grey shrike-thrush

Superb fairy-wren

White-winged chough

Grey currawong

Pied currawong

Australian magpie

Little raven

Australian raven

Corvids


* From enclosure experiments, remainder from field studies.


Table 4: Additional non-target species known to be killed by 1080 baiting

Source: Denny (unpublished) and McIlroy (1982a)




Mammals


Birds

Fat-tailed dunnart *

Black kite

Common wombat

Masked lapwing

Common brushtail possum

Wood duck

Tasmanian bettong

Long-nosed potoroo



Green rosella

Crimson rosella



Red-necked wallaby

Silver gull

‘Wallaby’ sp.

Australian magpie

‘Kangaroo’ sp.

Magpie-lark

Bush rat

Little crow

Swamp rat *

Corvids

Silky mouse




Long-tailed mouse




* From enclosure experiments, remainder from field studies.
Native target species in Tasmania: The targeting of native species in Tasmania with 1080 poison is known to considerably reduce these populations. According to McIlroy (1892b) the deliberate baiting of forest browsing ‘pests’ with 1080 carrot baits has resulted in up to 94% mortality amongst brushtail possum populations, 96% mortality amongst red-bellied pademelons and 86% mortality amongst Bennett’s wallabies.


  1. Evidence that the threatening process could cause a listed threatened species or ecological community to become eligible for listing in another category representing a higher degree of endangerment:



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