Using livestock guardian dogs to protect threatened species factsheet

Date: 22, Oct, 2021
Author(s): Chris Johnson   Michael Magrath   Linda van Bommel  
Publisher: TSR Hub

The Endangered eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) have declined dramatically in Victoria largely due to predation by foxes. We set up trials to explore whether Maremma sheepdogs may be useful in protecting translocated eastern barred bandicoots on farms without fox-exclusion fences. Our results showed that in the presence of Maremmas, bandicoots were exposed to fewer foxes, and that foxes were less likely to prey on bandicoots. In the year before Maremmas arrived, foxes bred at the trial sites, but they did not breed on those sites after the Maremmas were introduced. The separation of foxes and Maremmas appears mainly due to foxes avoiding areas occupied by Maremmas. Monitoring at the experimental trial sites is ongoing and by next year we should be able to determine whether fox predation has been suppressed enough by the Maremmas to enable the establishment of viable bandicoot populations. This study provides information on a new method of conservation management that may be useful for other small native mammals.