Bush Heritage research partner wins Eureka Prize

on 06 Sep 2013 

One of our research partners, Dr. Mike Letnic from the University of NSW, and his colleagues (including Prof Chris Johnson from U Tas) have won this year's Eureka Prize for Environmental Research for their research on dingoes. One of their primary field sites is Ethabuka / Cravens Peak and as Mike said to me this morning "BHA have provided essential support for my research and the management strategies that it has advocated".

The following is an excerpt from the media release:

Dingoes are key elements in the struggle to reduce damage caused by kangaroos, foxes and feral cats, according to University of Tasmania Professor Chris Johnson and his colleagues.

Far from being vermin, Australia’s dingoes sustain biodiversity and can help land managers control invasive species.

For their innovative approach to conservation, Professor Johnson and his team have won the 2013 Australian Museum NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

Their work shows that dingoes control kangaroo populations and supress foxes and feral cats. As a consequence they’ve found that ecosystems with dingoes have better vegetation condition and more diverse and abundant populations of small native mammals.
“Dingoes arouse passionate feelings. This research will change attitudes and help us appreciate their ecological role,” the Director of the Australian Museum, Frank Howarth said.

“The dingo looks like being rehabilitated as a useful member of the Australian environment and the researchers are already putting their work into practice in the management of Evelyn Downs Station near Coober Pedy, 850km north of Adelaide,” he said.

The team—which also includes Dr Michael Letnic of the University of New South Wales, Dr Euan Ritchie of Deakin University, Dr Arian Wallach of James Cook University and Adam O'Neill at Evelyn Downs Station—found that dingoes now occupy the top predator role once filled by the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine. They have become a lynchpin of the ecosystem, important to the health of other animals and plants.

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