Of dingoes and wolves

April 12, 2016 by J-Wire
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Technion Australia through TSA Environmental Research Ltd (TSAERL) is funding groundbreaking research into apex predators…dingoes in Australia and wolves in Israel.

Dr Arian Wallach, Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Professor Yohay Carmel

Dr Arian Wallach, Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Professor Yohay Carmel

The research aims to identify how humans affect the ecological function of apex predators in the two countries and to identify opportunities for establishing policies that increase coexistence.

This project is led in Australia by Dr Arian Wallach of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and in Israel by Prof Yohay Carmel of the Technion.

“This is the first project to be supported by TSAERL and we are very pleased that we could provide the seed funding to enable the scope of the study between Technion and UTS to be confirmed and to enable visits to locations in both countries by the researchers,” said Dr Ruth Ratner, President of Technion Australia and TSAERL.

The three-year study is part of a broader international research incorporating the Dingo for Biodiversity Project in Australia, The Middle East Wolf Project in Israel, and studies of wolves in North America. It is a collaboration across a number of universities including the Technion and UTS and aims to map and understand the impact of human society on these apex predators

“The support of Technion Australia has been central to the establishment of this international project,” said Dr Wallach.

“Traditionally, dingoes have had a bad press in Australia, as have wolves in the Middle East, but my research has shown that they are important for maintaining healthy ecosystems. We need to understand that role better,” she added.

Israel provides a unique study system because of the different ecosystems and human activities the wolves navigate through. For example, the militarised zones and minefields of the Golan Heights are dangerous places for humans but safe for wolves.

There are also parallels between Australia’s ‘dingo fence’ and the border between Israel and Jordan. Both are creating two distinct environmental conditions on either side of the divide, because of different human attitudes and actions.

There is much international interest in this research following the re-introduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and consideration being given in Britain to re-introducing wolves as a way of protecting forests from overgrazing by deer.

Research on the ecological role of wolves in Israel will be of direct relevance to conservation in Australia, which is undergoing a transition to coexistence with dingoes. Trophic cascades research (where predators have effects on other species down the food chain) has contributed to a global shift away from fear and towards appreciation of large and potentially dangerous predators.

Dr Wallach recently visited the Technion and wolf habitats in Israel, and Professor Carmel will be visiting in Australia in September.

Technion Australia has provided initial seed funding, however further funds are required to complete the project and enable on-the-ground research and comparative analysis.

All projects funded through TSAERL undergo rigorous evaluation by its scientific directors to determine the quality of research and outcomes for the natural environments of Australia, Israel and wider.


One Response to “Of dingoes and wolves”
  1. colin james lyons says:

    It is a well known fact to a small minority that the killing of high order predators in any ecological system destroys that system.when will humanbeings learn that the persuit of wealth and power at the cost of everything beautiful in this world is a form of insanity.

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