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Urban Dingoes (Canis lupus dingo and Hybrids) and Human Hydatid Disease (Echinococcus granulosus) in Queensland, Australia

Abstract

Urban dingoes are known to occur along most of the Australian eastern seaboard but are particularly common in Queensland coastal cities and towns.  Urban dingoes cause significant damage to domestic pets and livestock and present four serious threats to human health and safety: attacks on humans, attacks on domestic animals, zoonotic disease transmission to humans, and the psychological and emotional trauma to affected residents.  I have begun to monitor urban dingoes in three metropolitan and regional Queensland coastal cities using GPS datalogging collars to determine habitat use by dingoes in urban communities, assess their reliance on bushland areas, and evaluate their potential role in the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, including human hydatid disease (caused by the parasitic tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus). Similar to urban predators on other continents (e.g., red foxes and coyotes), I found urban dingoes to have smaller home ranges than their rural counterparts, exhibit flexible habitat requirements in a resource-rich urban environment, and potentially have a pivotal role in the transmission of E. granulosus to humans in built-up areas.  Some challenges of urban predator and zoonotic disease management are discussed.

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