Holderness-Roddam, B., & McQuillan, P. B. (2014). Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) as a predator and disturbance agent of wildlife in Tasmania.Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, (ahead-of-print), 1-12.
Domestic dogs are potentially a threat to the wellbeing of Tasmania's native wildlife in urban reserves, possibly comparable to cats. Dogs disrupt feeding and breeding in wildlife. Greater Hobart has 33,000 registered domestic dogs, concentrated in the more densely populated areas. Datasets of the Resource Management and Conservation Division of the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, and the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Wildlife Hospital at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, were used to compare the effects of dogs as predators with cats. These datasets indicated that dogs were responsible for more reported attacks on wildlife than cats. These findings have management implications for local councils, who are typically responsible for such areas. They need to review the urban natural areas where dogs are permitted, both on leash and off leash, and then consider monitoring dog owner behaviour at peak dog walking periods – in evenings and at weekends – and prosecute non-compliant dog owners. At the planning stage for new subdivisions, particularly those near sensitive wildlife areas, councils should consider mandating bushland reserves with larger buffer zones to reduce the effects of residential development.