Science Alert: Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Another attack on Fraser Island — the flashpoint for dingo management issues — has highlighted our complex relationship with Australia’s largest terrestrial predator.

The Fraser Island Dingo is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Image by Glen Fergus [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

The Fraser Island Dingo is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Image by Glen Fergus [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 park after a near 90-year absence, the balance of an entire ecosystem shifted. Grazing by overabundant elk dropped leading to recovery of native aspen, willow and cottonwood trees. Beavers returned, small predators and scavengers increased and coyote numbers dropped, indirectly benefiting the threatened pronghorn antelope.

Recent research from around the globe is demonstrating that large predators, like wolves and dingoes, play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

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