Dingo dogs have grown in recent years, and pesticides may be to blame

A poisoned bait is a composition (liquid, solid, or gel) that attracts a target population of living

species. This leads to negative consequences: either the animals die, or their normal behavior changes, which ultimately affects the population.

Scientists measured the size of the skull, which is a marker for animal size, from nearly 600 samples of dingo dogs originating from the area.

Skulls from areas with pesticides have grown by about 4 mm since the introduction of the poisoned baits. This corresponds to about a kilogram of body weight.

While the male dingo just grew up, the femalesaw the biggest spike in growth: their skulls increased by 4.5 mm, which is almost 9% of their body weight. Male skulls have grown by 3.6 mm, or 6% of body weight.

Why do dingo dogs grow in size in places poisoned by baits?

The most plausible theory is that dingoes that survive bullying campaigns have less competition for food.

Matthew Crowther, article co-author, assistant professor at the University of Sydney

Scientists explain that the main prey of the dingo, the kangaroo, increases in numbers when dingo populations are suppressed. With more food, the physical growth of the dingo is less limited.

The pesticide sodium fluoroacetate, known as 1080 (pronounced ten eighty), is commonly used throughout Australia to control dingoes and other pest populations.

An odorless white powder, 1080, is usually left in meat lures and left at dingo distribution points. In the 1960s and 70s, there was a massive baiting of dingo dogs in regions of Australia.

No change in body size was observed in dingoes from the unpoisoned region, including indigenous lands and reserves.

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