Peter John Sabine Fleming

Peter John Sabine Fleming
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries · Vertebrate Pest Research Unit

B Sc (hons), M Res Sc, PhD

About

156
Publications
82,450
Reads
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3,585
Citations
Introduction
Peter Fleming is a Research Leader (Predator & Prey Management) at the Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. He is adjunct professor in Ecosystem Management at the University of New England and in Sustainable Agricultural Systems at the University of Southern Queensland. Peter researches invasive animal management, population estimation methods (camera trapping and aerial surveys), niche separation, behavioural ecology and social welfare. His current interests are wild dog, red fox and feral cat management and its effects on agricultural, environmental and social values. He has previously worked on contact between feral goats and sheep and wild and domestic dogs for developing of epidemiological models of exotic diseases like rabies and FMD.
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - June 2022
University of Southern Queensland 
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
November 2010 - present
University of New England (Australia)
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
April 1994 - present
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Position
  • Principal Investigator
Description
  • Vocational education & training provider on Vertebrate pest management , Wild canid ecology, Feral goat ecology, Survey pest animals (aerial surveys, sandplots, camera trapping), Recognise fauna, Observe & report animals, Animal trapping techniques
Education
January 1999 - June 2004
University of Canberra
Field of study
  • Applied Science
June 1990 - December 1995
University of New England (Australia)
Field of study
  • Resource Management
March 1975 - December 1980

Publications

Publications (156)
Article
Full-text available
A public forum can reveal a wide range of perspectives on the ethical treatment of animals. This article describes how a panel of experts navigated through a discussion on the many and varied challenges of attempting to manage invasive and native fauna in Australia. The panel acknowledged the variety of these fauna, their effects on others and the...
Article
Dogs are ubiquitous and strongly associated with human communities, but many roam freely, away from the owners' property and control. Free-roaming owned dogs can pose risks through disease transmission to and from other dogs, attacking domestic animals, fauna or humans, and involvement in road accidents. However, little research has focused on unde...
Article
The feral cat (Felis catus) is a key threat for many Australian native critical weight range animals (i.e. species of intermediate body mass between 35 and 5,500 g that are particularly susceptible to introduced predators) and estimates of cat abundance are required for assessing changes in population size. Camera trapping is a much used tool for m...
Article
ContextOutside its breeding season, the marsupial carnivore the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is apparently largely unaffected by aerial baiting for dingoes and other wild dogs (Canis familiaris). However, the potential impact of aerial baiting during spring on female spotted-tailed quolls carrying and weaning young remains unquantified...
Chapter
The parma wallaby (Notomacropus parma Waterhouse, 1846) is a small macropodid marsupial found in the temperate wet forests of south-eastern Australia. It is one of the most understudied critical weight range mammals in Australia, with the only detailed published ecological research being conducted in the 1970s. This chapter reports on the inadequac...
Article
Full-text available
Taxonomy is the science of the classification of living things and comprises two main processes, defining taxa and naming them. In relation to the taxonomy of the Dingo, the scientific name has been unstable for many years. It has been referred to as Canis familiaris, Canis familiaris dingo, Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo or Canis dingo....
Article
The perceived dilemma about Dingoes overly simplifies a complex “wicked problem”. Similarly, it is simplistic to suggest that to “cull, contain or conserve” Dingoes are mutually exclusive options or are the only options for managing Dingoes at a state-wide level. The legal instruments enacted and implemented in New South Wales (NSW) attempt to acco...
Article
Full-text available
Australia is currently free of canine rabies. Spatio-ecological knowledge about dingoes in northern Australia is currently a gap that impedes the application of disease spread models and our understanding of the potential transmission of rabies, in the event of an incursion. We therefore conducted a one-year camera trap survey to monitor a dingo po...
Article
ContextWild dogs, including dingoes and dingo cross-breeds, are vertebrate pests when they cause financial losses and emotional costs by harming livestock or pets, threaten human safety or endanger native fauna. Tools for lethal management of these animals currently include aerial baiting with poisoned baits. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, ae...
Article
Trigger-delays are often set on camera traps to save labour costs involved with servicing camera traps and reviewing images. However, the effects that delays of various length could have on data quantity and quality are unmeasured. Here, we aimed to assess how varying trigger-delays (5, 10, 30 and 60min) or using an ‘independent event’ classificati...
Article
ContextImproving the welfare outcomes for captured animals is critically important and should underpin ‘best-practice’ trapping. Most Australian States and Territories have regulations and guidelines that form a legal framework for the maximum number of hours an animal can be restrained in a trap. Because servicing all traps within preferred time f...
Article
Full-text available
We present ClassifyMe a software tool for the automated identification of animal species from camera trap images. ClassifyMe is intended to be used by ecologists both in the field and in the office. Users can download a pre-trained model specific to their location of interest and then upload the images from a camera trap to a laptop or workstation....
Article
Camera trapping has advanced significantly in Australia over the last two decades. These devices have become more versatile and the associated computer technology has also progressed dramatically since 2011. In the USA, the hunting industry drives most changes to camera traps; however the scientific fraternity has been instrumental in incorporating...
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
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
Recently Beschta et al. (2018) published a paper proposing that recovery of aspen in Yellowstone National Park was shaped by multi-scalar trophic cascade reversals driven by the reintroduction of grey wolves. Although this conclusion is one possibility, and might help explain what was observed, the paper of itself provides neither adequate evidence...
Article
Full-text available
Adopting the name Canis dingo for the Dingo to explicitly denote a species-level taxon separate from other canids was suggested by Crowther et al. (2014) as a means to eliminate taxonomic instability and contention. However, Jackson et al. (2017), using standard taxonomic and nomenclatural approaches and principles, called instead for continued use...
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
Full-text available
Context: Wildlife and pest managers and stakeholders should constantly aim to improve animal-welfare outcomes when foot-hold trapping pest animals. To minimise stress and trauma to trapped animals, traps should be checked at least once every 24 h, normally as soon after sunrise as possible. If distance, time, environmental or geographical constrain...
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
The temporal scale of many studies of dingo ecology is limited by human and physical resources, often constrained by funding cycles. Consequently, research has been skewed towards short-term, snapshot investigations undertaken at a spatial scale that is unrelated to dingo home range size, space use and life history. In turn, the certainty of ecolog...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Camera traps are increasingly used to monitor wildlife populations and management activities. Failing to detect target occurrence and/or behaviour inhibits the robustness of wildlife surveys. Based on user‐testing, it is reasonable to expect some equipment to malfunction but other sources of failure, such as those caused by theft and vanda...
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
We conducted a survey of trappers to gather baseline information on the trapping methods and humane practices used in Australia, the types of traps being used, and the attitudes of trappers. Respondents indicated that they mostly trapped wild dogs and foxes with feral cats as by-catch; rabbits were trapped to a lesser degree. Respondents favoured J...
Article
Full-text available
Context: When measuring grazing impacts of vertebrates, the density of animals and time spent foraging are important. Traditionally, dung pellet counts are used to index macropod grazing density, and a direct relationship between herbivore density and foraging impact is assumed. However, rarely are pellet deposition rates measured or compared with...
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
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
Full-text available
The taxonomic identity and status of the Australian Dingo has been unsettled and controversial since its initial description in 1792. Since that time it has been referred to by various names including Canis dingo, Canis lupus dingo, Canis familiaris and Canis familiaris dingo. Of these names C. l. dingo and C. f. dingo have been most often used, bu...
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
We are in some agreement with Newsome et al. (2017): the differences between the ecosystems of Yellowstone and Sturt National Parks should not preclude examinations of the influences, whether costs (see Allen and Fleming, 2012) or benefits of the dingo (Canis familaris), on contemporary Australian ecosystems. It is important to note that at no poin...
Article
Full-text available
We are in the middle of a period of rapid and substantial environmental change. One impact of this upheaval is increasing contact between humans and other animals, including wildlife that take advantage of anthropogenic foods. As a result of increased interaction, the evolution and function of many species may be altered through time via processes...
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
The roles of the 37 species in the family Canidae (the dog family), are of great current interest. The Gray Wolf is the largest canid and their roles in food webs are much researched, as are those of Domestic Dogs, Coyotes and Red Foxes. Much less is known about the other canid species and their ecological roles.Here we describe general food web th...
Article
Full-text available
Author Summary Canine rabies typically persists in developing countries where stray and unvaccinated, free-roaming domestic dogs account for a substantial proportion of the population. In this paper we investigate whether sustained canine rabies transmission can occur within the wild dog population of Australia, which comprises dingoes and their hy...
Data
Proportion of infected (exposed) dogs within milestone 1 versus model input parameters. The median proportion of infected (exposed) dogs within milestone 1 as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator seed, give...
Data
Number of dogs infected by the index case versus model input parameters. The mean number of dogs infected by the index case as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator seed, given rabies percolates (blue, miles...
Data
Number of nodes within milestone 1 versus model input parameters. The median number of nodes within milestone 1 as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator seed, given rabies percolates (blue, milestone 1) 30 k...
Data
Proportion of infectious dogs within milestone 1 versus model input parameters. The median proportion of infectious dogs within milestone 1 as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator seed, given rabies percola...
Data
Number of dogs within milestone 1 before rabies introduction versus model input parameters. The median number of dogs within milestone 1 before rabies introduction as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator se...
Data
Reduction in wild dog density within milestone 1 versus model input parameters. The median reduction in wild dog density within milestone 1 as a function of (A) wild dog density, (B) mean lifespan, (C) mean replacement period, (D) sociability scale parameter, (E) spatial scale parameter, λ, and (F) random number generator seed, given rabies percola...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are the most invasive of vertebrates and they have taken many plants and animals with them to colonise new environments. This has been particularly so in Australasia, where Laurasian and domesticated taxa have collided with ancient Gondwanan ecosystems isolated since the Eocene Epoch. Many plants and animals that humans introduced benefited...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs (Canis familiaris) can transmit pathogens to other domestic animals, humans and wildlife. Both domestic and wild-living dogs are ubiquitous within mainland Australian landscapes, but their interactions are mostly unquantified. Consequently, the probability of pathogen transfer among wild-living and domestic dogs is unknown. To address this kno...
Article
Wolves are widely regarded as top-down regulators of prey and trophic cascades in North America. Consequent expectations of biodiversity benefits from canid-driven trophic cascades have driven debate around reintroduction plans for dingoes in south-eastern Australia. The biophysical characteristics of Yellowstone National park predispose that envir...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the ecology of large ungulates in southern Africa requires accurate and precise measures of population size. Recovery or exploitation of ungulates in reserves is currently instigated when population size changes exceed 15% per annum, but monitoring is usually undertaken with single counts from helicopters, for which precision and the...
Article
Currently, Australia is free from terrestrial rabies but an incursion from nearby Indonesia, where the virus is endemic, is a feasible threat. Here, we aimed to determine whether the response to a simulated rabies incursion would vary between three extant Australian dog populations; free-roaming domestic dogs from a remote indigenous community in n...
Data
Table S2. The possible effects on population abundance estimators of animals that avoid detection of camera traps due to trap‐shyness or startle behaviours or are attracted to camera traps due to trap happiness or approach behaviours.
Data
Table S1. An ethogram of terms used to describe the range of behavioural responses of Australian predators to the presence of camera traps.
Article
Camera trapping is widely used in ecological studies. It is often considered nonintrusive simply because animals are not captured or handled. However, the emission of light and sound from camera traps can be intrusive. We evaluated the daytime and nighttime behavioral responses of four mammalian predators to camera traps in road-based, passive (no...
Article
The spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia. It usually occurs at relatively low population densities and its cryptic nature makes it exceedingly difficult to observe in its natural habitat. On the mainland the species is also listed as nationally endangered and more information is needed t...
Article
Context Dogs aid hunters in many parts of Australia. Because of close proximity, transfer of zoonotic disease between hunters, hunting dogs and wildlife can, and does, occur. Knowledge about cooperative hunting between humans and domestic dogs and interactions with wildlife in Australia is limited, but is necessary to improve zoonotic-risk mitigati...
Article
Full-text available
Hybridisation between domesticated animals and their wild counterparts can disrupt adaptive gene combinations, reduce genetic diversity, extinguish wild populations, and change ecosystem function. The dingo is a free-ranging dog that is an iconic apex predator and distributed throughout most of mainland Australia. Dingoes readily hybridise with dom...
Article
Full-text available
An understanding of the factors that drive inter-population variability in home-range size is essential for managing the impacts of invasive species with broad global distributions, such as the feral domestic cat (Felis catus). The assumption that home-range sizes scale negatively with landscape productivity is fundamental to many spatial behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropocentrism, where humans are central, is a natural human viewpoint, but a threat to objective ecological study. Human population, resource use and resource expectations are expanding, turning our ecological footprint into a deep rut. We believe that, while many studies deal with the consequences of human effects on ecosystems, the outcomes ar...
Article
Full-text available
There is global interest in restoring populations of apex predators, both to conserve them and to harness their ecological services. In Australia, reintroduction of dingoes (Canis dingo) has been proposed to help restore degraded rangelands. This proposal is based on theories and the results of studies suggesting that dingoes can suppress populatio...