The management and control of vertebrate pests is costly, and eradication is generally unachievable. This project aims to identify new vertebrate repellents based on predator odours. The identification and use of repellents as an alternate pest animal control method is desirable, as other pest control measures such as fencing, shooting/darting and poisoning can impact negatively on non-target species, be prohibitively expensive, and/or be perceived as cruel or inhumane.

This research will:

  • identify the active repellent compounds found in tiger (Panthera tigris), lion (Panthera leo), dingo (Canis lupus dingo) and Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) faeces
  • explore the best delivery method for these repellents under a range of climatic conditions and test their efficacy and longevity in the field against the target herbivore species (initially goats and macropods)
  • determine the effect of habituation on the effectiveness of the animal repellents
  • determine if these isolated components can be manufactured and delivered in appropriate forms and varying potency.

You'll undertake solvent extractions of faecal of Sumatran tigers, lions, dingoes and Tasmanian devils to determine their odour profiles. You'll then identify individual compounds of the odours and their quantities by using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). 

Location: UQ Gatton, with possible fieldwork in several other Queensland locations

Supervisors: Associate Professor Peter Murray

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project start subject to: UQ animal ethics approval

Project members