Benjamin Allen

Benjamin Allen
University of Southern Queensland  · Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment

Doctor of Philosophy

About

93
Publications
34,130
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,681
Citations
Introduction
I am a wildlife ecologist with a passion for exploring practical solutions to large-scale ecological problems associated with balancing the needs of wildlife with those of humans. For me, this applied science focus has typically meant investigating how to better manage both threatened and pest fauna in rural livestock production systems and peri-urban areas. Much of my practical experience has been with dingoes and other wild dogs - Australia's largest terrestrial predator.
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - present
University of Southern Queensland 
Position
  • Wildlife ecologist

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivores are depicted to shape entire ecosystems through top-down processes. Studies describing these processes are often used to support interventionist wildlife management practices, including carnivore reintroduction or lethal control programs. Unfortunately, there is an increasing tendency to ignore, disregard or devalue fundamental pri...
Article
Full-text available
Many prey species around the world are suffering declines due to a variety of interacting causes such as land use change, climate change, invasive species and novel disease. Recent studies on the ecological roles of top-predators have suggested that lethal top-predator control by humans (typically undertaken to protect livestock or managed game fro...
Article
Context. The reintroduction of dingoes into sheep-grazing areas south-east of the dingo barrier fence has been suggested as a mechanism to suppress fox and feral-cat impacts. Using the Western Division of New South Wales as a case study, Dickman et al. (2009) recently assessed the risk of fox and cat predation to extant threatened species and concl...
Article
Full-text available
Species that respond to ecosystem change in a timely, measurable, and interpretable way can be used as sentinels of global change. Contrary to a pervasive view, we suggest that, among Carnivora, small carnivores are more appropriate sentinels than large carnivores. This reasoning is built around six key points: that, compared to large carnivores, s...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper, we set out the prerequisites for the development of killing and restraining trap systems to capture mammals for research, wildlife management and conservation, fur trapping, animal control, and any other activity involving the trapping of a mammal in a mechanical trapping device. We selected them with the main intent of developing ne...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper, we propose standards for killing trap systems based on Proulx et al.'s (2022) prerequisites, which provide context and explanations for our approach. Our aim is to identify assessment protocols that are based on the scientific method, and that include evaluation parameters and threshold levels of acceptation, and laboratory and field...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper, we propose standards for restraining trap systems based on Proulx et al.'s (2022a) prerequisites, which provide context and explanations for our approach. Our aim is to identify assessment protocols that are based on the scientific method, and that include evaluation parameters and threshold levels of acceptation, and laboratory and...
Article
Increased demand for livestock products is exacerbating conflict with predators in many parts of the world, fuelling an increase in predation management practices in many grazing systems. In Australia, exclusion fences are being erected across broad areas to facilitate the sustained eradication of dingoes, an apex predator, prompting concern for po...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change has started impacting species, ecosystems, genetic diversity within species, and ecological interactions and is thus a serious threat to conserving biodiversity globally. In the absence of adequate adaptation measures, biodiversity may continue to decline, and many species will possibly become extinct. Given that global temperature c...
Article
Full-text available
Rapidly changing climate is likely to modify the spatial distribution of both flora and fauna. Land use change continues to alter the availability and quality of habitat and further intensifies the effects of climate change on wildlife species. We used an ensemble modeling approach to predict changes in habitat suitability for an iconic wildlife sp...
Article
Full-text available
Removal or loss of top-predators has been predicted to cause cascading negative effects for ecosystems, including mesopredator release. However, reliable evidence for these processes in terrestrial systems has been mixed and equivocal due, in large part, to the systemic and continued use of low-inference study designs to investigate this issue. Eve...
Article
A variety of devices are often placed in the landscape to count, catch, kill, or otherwise manage wild species. It is important to understand the interactions between such devices and the species of interest to achieve and improve the efficiency of research and management objectives. Canid pest ejectors (CPEs; hereafter ejectors) are a device recen...
Preprint
Aim Rapidly changing climate is likely to modify the spatial distribution of both flora and fauna. Land use change continues to alter the availability and quality of habitat and further intensifies the effects of climate change on wildlife species. We used an ensemble modelling approach to predict changes in habitat suitability for an iconic wildli...
Article
Full-text available
Ethical food choices have become an important societal theme in post-industrial countries. Many consumers are particularly interested in the animal welfare implications of the various foods they may choose to consume. However, concepts in animal welfare are rapidly evolving towards consideration of all animals (including wildlife) in contemporary a...
Article
Understanding the ecological roles of apex predators remains an important field of study. The influence of apex predators on ecosystems can be either profound or negligible in different situations, and uncertainty still exists about the ecological roles of most top-predators, including Australian dingoes. This uncertainly is maintained by a dearth...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is an emerging threat for biodiversity conservation. It has already started impacting species assemblages and ecosystem dynamics. The greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is an iconic and globally threatened megaherbivore. Once widespread across the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, there were fewer than 500 r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate change is an emerging threat for biodiversity conservation. It has already started impacting species assemblages and ecosystem dynamics. The greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is an iconic and globally threatened megaherbivore. Once widespread across the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, there were fewer than 500 r...
Article
The impacts of wild predators on livestock are a common source of human–wildlife conflict globally, and predators are subject to population control for this reason in many situations. Animal welfare is one of many important considerations affecting decisions about predation management. Recent studies discussing animal welfare in this context have p...
Article
Greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is one of the most iconic wildlife species in the world. Once reduced to fewer than 500 during the 1960s, its global population has been recovering and is now over 3500, thanks to effective conservation programs in India and Nepal, the only two countries in the world where this species is found....
Conference Paper
Introducing consumptive and non-consumptive effects into food webs can have profound effects on individuals, populations and communities. Consequently, the deliberate use of predation and/or fear of predation is an emerging technique for controlling wildlife. Many now advocate for the intentional use of large carnivores and livestock guardian dogs...
Article
An understanding of the threats to threatened species in urban and peri-urban areas is essential to develop successful management approaches. Dog attacks are considered to be a major contributor to koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) mortalities in peri-urban areas of northeastern Australia. Predation could be due to either domestic dogs or wild dogs (d...
Article
Full-text available
Compassionate conservation focuses on 4 tenets: first, do no harm; individuals matter; inclusivity of individual animals; and peaceful coexistence between humans and animals. Recently, compassionate conservation has been promoted as an alternative to conventional conservation philosophy. We believe examples presented by compassionate conservationis...
Article
Science (E-letter) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6438/eaav5570/tab-e-letters Rewilding needs to clarify the role of management of invasive species Matt W. Hayward, Associate Professor of Conservation Biology, University of Newcastle, Australia Other Contributors: David S. Jachowski, Professor of Conservation, Clemson University Craig...
Article
Full-text available
Feral swine are among the world’s most destructive invasive species, and monitoring their populations is essential for research and management purposes. Observation stations located along primitive roads have been an efficient and effective means to intercept the daily activities of many animal species for collecting data from which abundance indic...
Article
Introducing consumptive and non-consumptive effects into food webs can have profound effects on individuals, populations and communities. This knowledge has led to the deliberate use of predation and/or fear of predation as an emerging technique for controlling wildlife. Many now advocate for the intentional use of large carnivores and livestock gu...
Article
Basket asparagus (Asparagus aethiopicus) has become a naturalised invasive plant in some coastal areas of Australia since its introduction in the late 19th century. Its spread through garden waste dumping and avian seed dispersal has been well documented and both are considered to be the primary means of dispersal. While a small number of avian vec...
Article
Full-text available
Many top-predators are declining and/or threatened. For these reasons, conservation efforts are a management priority for many species, and structured management processes are developed to facilitate their conservation. However , this is not presently the case for the dingo, which is threatened by introgression of genetic material from other and mo...
Chapter
Predation and competition are two primary forces limiting the extent to which sheep can be grazed in the Australian rangelands, particularly in Queensland. Dingo predation has been non-existent in much of the sheep zone since the localised eradication of dingoes in the early 1900s. Competition with kangaroos has been ever-present, but was previousl...
Article
Beef cattle production is the major agricultural pursuit in the arid rangelands of Australia. Dingo predation is often considered a significant threat to production in rangeland beef herds, but there is a need for improved understanding of the effects of dingo baiting on reproductive wastage. We experimentally compared fetal/calf loss on baited and...
Article
Stranded marine fauna have been identified as a potentially significant food resource for terrestrial carnivores, but how such subsidisation influences terrestrial species ecology is not well understood. We describe the dietary and behavioural responses of dingoes (Canis familiaris) to the occurrence of large-animal marine strandings (e.g. dead cet...
Article
Full-text available
Many top-predators are declining and/or threatened. For these reasons, conservation efforts are a management priority for many species, and structured management processes are developed to facilitate their conservation. However , this is not presently the case for the dingo, which is threatened by introgression of genetic material from other and mo...
Article
Climate (drought, rainfall), geology (habitat availability), land use change (provision of artificial waterpoints, introduction of livestock), invasive species (competition, predation), and direct human intervention (lethal control of top-predators) have each been identified as processes driving the sustainability of threatened fauna populations. W...
Article
Full-text available
Hybridisation between animals that breed once (e.g. dingoes) and twice (e.g. domestic dogs) annually may produce offspring that breed either way. This question was investigated by determining the breeding seasonality of female dingo–dog hybrids in southeast Queensland, Australia, through evaluating macroscopic and histological features of 71 female...
Article
Full-text available
1. Response to Bruskotter and colleagues We recently described the following six interrelated issues that justify questioning some of the discourse about the reliability of the literature on the ecological roles of large carnivores (Allen et al., in press): 1. The overall paucity of available data, 2. The reliability of carnivore population samplin...
Article
Intraspecific conflict is an important process structuring carnivore populations. However, few data are available describing the precise mode of killing used by carnivores, especially medium-sized carnivores that can exhibit behaviours typically associated with either smaller or larger species. From records of free-ranging Australian dingoes killed...
Article
Full-text available
Considerable effort goes into mitigating the impacts caused by invasive animals and prohibiting their establishment or expansion. In Australia, management of wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo and their hybrids) and their devastating impacts is reliant upon poison baiting. The recent release of baits containing the humane toxin para-aminopropiophenone (P...
Article
Invasive predators are globally significant drivers of threatened fauna population decline and extinction, and the early detection of new incursions is critical to the chances of successful predator eradication and fauna conservation. Here, we provide evidence of the recent invasion of European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) on to two large and internat...
Article
Full-text available
The problem of how to protect sea turtle nests from terrestrial predators is of worldwide concern. On Queensland’s southern Sunshine Coast, depredation of turtle nests by the introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has been recorded as the primary terrestrial cause of egg and hatchling mortality. We investigated the impact of foxes on the nests...
Article
Full-text available
The roles and functions of top predators have in recent years been an important yet controversial field of biodiversity conservation research. Interrelationships between sympatric species within complex systems can pose enormous challenges for designing studies that gain clear understanding of specific relationships and processes. Teasing out the n...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The direct and indirect effects that human actions have on top-predators are of major importance to ecosystems and the people that study them. However, evidence for the ecological roles of top-predators is often disputed and highly context-specific, much of what is known about top-predator function is derived from a few unique case studies, and the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Wild dogs are common residents in peri-urban areas of northeastern Australia. Improved knowledge of the ancestry of wild dogs can assist in determining management priorities, such as targeting source populations, in such areas. We studied the genetics of wild dogs from peri-urban and more regional areas in NE Australia to determine the degree of hy...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The recent registration of commercially-manufactured wild dog baits (Dogabait®) containing para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) offers an exciting development for the humane, effective and safe control of wild dogs, particularly in peri-urban areas. However, little is known about the longevity of PAPP baits in the environment. Usage strategies must consi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Knowledge of peri-urban dingo or wild dog ecology can assist management agencies in developing management approaches that alleviate human-wildlife conflicts. Here we summarise (1) the food and dietary items identified in wild dog scats and (2) wild dog movement ecology in urban areas. Individual prey species commonly observed in scats included agil...
Article
Full-text available
Simple summary Conflicts with dingoes and other wild dogs are becoming increasingly common in and around urban areas of Australia. A lack of basic information about wild dog movement ecology hampers efficient planning and allocation of resources to mitigate human–wild dog conflicts. We captured, collared and released 37 wild dogs in urban areas of...
Article
Full-text available
Top-predators play stabilising roles in island food webs, including Fraser Island, Australia. Subsidising generalist predators with human-sourced food could disrupt this balance, but has been proposed to improve the overall health of the island’s dingo (Canis lupus dingo) population, which is allegedly ‘starving’ or in ‘poor condition’. We assess t...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the resource requirements of urban predators can improve our understanding of their ecology and assist town planners and wildlife management agencies in developing management approaches that alleviate human-wildlife conflicts. Here we examine food and dietary items identified in scats of dingoes in peri-urban areas of north-eastern Aus...
Article
Full-text available
The water mouse is a small and vulnerable rodent present in coastal areas of south-west Papua New Guinea, and eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. Current knowledge regarding the distribution of the water mouse is incomplete and the loss of one local population has been documented in southeast Queensland, a region where press...
Article
The Australian dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a common and well studied species, yet very little is known about the longevity of free-ranging individuals because most field studies are too short to obtain this information. Fraser Island, off the east coast of Queensland, contains a closed dingo population of high conservation value, and where a porti...
Article
Full-text available
Guardian animals have been a common non-lethal method for reducing predator impacts on livestock for centuries in Europe. But elsewhere, livestock producers sometimes doubt whether such methods work or are compatible with modern livestock husbandry practices in extensive grazing systems. In this study we evaluate the hypothesis that guardian dogs p...
Article
East and Foreman1 recently described the structure, dynamics and movements of the Australian sheep industry, but did not consider the influence of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo and hybrids) on sheep (Ovis aries). In Allen and West,2 we added this information, concluding that “dingo predation is by no means the sole cause for the decline of sheep acros...
Article
Full-text available
Australian dingoes are threatened by interbreeding with domestic dogs. As a refuge from further interbreeding, the conservation significance of dingoes on Fraser Island is unquestioned. However, some dingoes presenting genuine human safety risks are humanely destroyed. In this study, we explore the potential effects of this on the sustainability of...
Article
Mammalian top-predators can have positive, negative and negligible effects on economic, environmental and social values, which vary spatially and temporally. Harnessing ‘pros’ while mitigating ‘cons’ of top-predators remains a key management challenge, particularly outside reserves in agro-ecosystems. In this study, long-term (1972–2008) and broad-...
Article
Colman et al. (2014 Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20133094. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.3094)) recently argued that observed positive relationships between dingoes and small mammals were a result of top-down processes whereby lethal dingo control reduced dingoes and increased mesopredators and herbivores, which then suppressed small mammals. Here, I show that th...
Chapter
Full-text available
Wild canids are widespread across most of mainland Australia. They can have major impacts on livestock production and biodiversity values and often necessitate active management. The impacts of free-ranging dogs and foxes should be managed concurrently, as there is often substantial overlap in their impacts and because most available control method...
Article
Full-text available
Top-predators contribute to ecosystem resilience, yet individuals or populations are often subject to lethal control to protect livestock, managed game or humans from predation. Such management actions sometimes attract concern that lethal control might affect top-predator function in ways ultimately detrimental to biodiversity conservation. The pr...
Article
Full-text available
Top-predators can play important roles in terrestrial food webs, fuelling speculation that top-predators might be used as biocontrol tools against invasive mesopredators. Feral cats are believed to be largely responsible for the current declines of native fauna across tropical northern Australia, where substantial beef cattle production occurs. Din...
Article
Full-text available
Top-predators can sometimes be important for structuring fauna assemblages in terrestrial ecosystems. Through a complex trophic cascade, the lethal control of top-predators has been predicted to elicit positive population responses from mesopredators that may in turn increase predation pressure on prey species of concern. In support of this hypothe...
Article
Full-text available
We recently reported summary results from a series of applied top-predator manipulation experiments conducted across Australia since the early 1990s (Allen et al. 2013, Frontiers in Zoology 10:39). These experiments permitted the highest level of inference achievable in open rangeland areas and collectively comprise the second-largest predator mani...