Peter Fleming

Research interests

  • Strategic management of vertebrate pests and other wildlife.
  • Ecology, behaviour and management of predators and their prey.
  • Wildlife population monitoring and technology
  • Socioeconomics of vertebrate pest management.
  • Preparedness for exotic diseases of wildlife and livestock.
  • Education and stakeholder training in vertebrate pest and wildlife management.


Peter is based at Orange Agricultural Institute and has been undertaking research into the management of invasive animal species since 1983. He currently leads the Predator & Prey Management team, which is leading the national rollout of RCD K5 strain to biologically control rabbits, undertaking integrated predator management research and stakeholder involvement in vertebrate pest management.

Peter has contributed to the understanding of the extent and cost of vertebrate pest issues, and the  population dynamics, behavioural ecology and control of invasive animal species. He has investigated bird pest damage of summer crops, flying-fox damage to subtropical fruit, damage and control of red foxes and wild dogs, effects of rabbits on pastures and wool production, and models of rabies in wild dogs and foot-and-mouth disease in feral goats and merino sheep. Most of these issues are wicked problems involving species that have both detrimental and beneficial impacts on agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Peter is currently the Theme Leader of the Invasive Animals CRC’s Wild Dog Theme, which is developing and applying solutions for managing peri-urban dingoes and other wild dogs, integrated predator management and the human dimensions of invasive animals. Through his role in the National Wild Dog Action Plan, he is developing national training programs for predator managers, provides advice about experimental design and methods for wild canid research to government and university researchers and, with industry and government stakeholders, is setting national research priorities.

Peter has published > 200 publications informing State and national policy on exotic disease preparedness, strategic management across tenures, and animal welfare aspects of control practices. His work also has strong application to day-to-day management by stakeholders responsible for managing invasive animals in private and public ecosystems in New South Wales, elsewhere in Australia and overseas.


  • B.Sc. (Hons) – University of New England (1981)
  • M. Res Sc. – University of New England (1996)
  • PhD Applied Science – University of Canberra (2005)

Current projects

  • Predators, prey, plants and people: co-management solutions.
  • Peri-urban wild dog ecology, behaviour and management.
  • National wild dog management facilitation and National Wild Dog Action Plan
  • Wild dog alert: developing early detection and warning systems for prevention of predation by wild dogs.
  • Quoll alert: individual identification from camera trap images for population estimation
  • Taxonomy of Australia’s free-roaming dogs.
  • Community dynamics of introduced predators: wild dogs, foxes and feral cats
  • Models of the dynamics of spotted-tailed quoll populations in areas of wild canid control.
  • Frequency-dependent models for disease dynamics in gregarious animals.
  • Aerial surveys of herbivores in western NSW.
  • Facilitating strategic management of wild dogs in western NSW and the Northern Tablelands
  • Using DNA for assessing relatedness and setting management units for wild dogs and foxes.

Recent publications

Allen, B.L. and Fleming, P.J.S. (2012) Reintroducing the dingo: the risk of dingo predation to threatened vertebrates of western New South Wales. Wildlife Research 39, 35-50.

Allen, Benjamin L., Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Lee R., Engeman, Richard M., Ballard, Guy and Leung, Luke K. P. (2013) As clear as mud: A critical review of evidence for the ecological roles of Australian dingoes. Biological Conservation 159, 158-174.

Allen, Benjamin L., Lundie-Jenkins, Geoff, Burrows, Neil D., Engeman, Richard M., Fleming, Peter J. S. and Leung, Luke K. P. (2014) Does lethal control of top-predators release mesopredators? A re-evaluation of three Australian case studies. Ecological Management & Restoration 15, 191-195.

Ballard, G., Meek, P.D., Doak, S., Fleming, P.J.S. and Sparkes, J. (2014) Camera traps, sand plots and known events: what do camera traps miss? Pp. 189-202 In. (Eds P. Meek, P. Fleming, G. Ballard, P. Banks, A. Claridge, J. Sanderson and D. Swann) Camera trapping for wildlife management and research. (CSIRO Publishing, Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Royal Zoological Society of NSW: Collingwood)

Bengsen, AJ, Algar, D, Ballard, G, Buckmaster, T, Comer, S, Fleming, PJS, Friend, JA, Johnston, M, McGregor, H and Moseby, K (2015) Feral cat home‐range size varies predictably with landscape productivity and population density. Journal of Zoology.

Chapple, Rosalie.S., Ramp, Daniel, Bradstock, Ross A., Kingsford, Richard T., Merson, John A., Auld, Tony D., Fleming, Peter J.S. and Mulley, Robert C. (2011) Integrating science into management of ecosystems in the Greater Blue Mountains. Environmental Management 48, 659-674.

Fleming, Peter JS and Ballard, Guy (2015) Homo sapiens is the apex animal: anthropocentrism as a Dionysian sword. Australian Zoologist early online 09/2015, 11.

Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Benjamin L. and Ballard, Guy-Anthony (2012) Seven considerations about dingoes as biodiversity engineers: the socioecological niches of dogs in Australia. Australian Mammalogy 34, 119-131.

Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Benjamin L. and Ballard, Guy-Anthony (2013) Cautionary considerations for positive dingo management: a response to the Johnson and Ritchie critique of Fleming et al. (2012). Australian Mammalogy 35, 15-22.

Fleming, P.J.S., Allen, B.L., Allen, L.R., Ballard, G., Bengsen, A.J., Gentle, M.N., McLeod, L.J., Meek, P.D. and Saunders, G.R. (2014) Management of wild canids in Australia: free-ranging dogs and red foxes. Pp. 105-149 In. (Eds A.S. Glen and C.R. Dickman) Carnivores of Australia: past, present and future. (CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood)

Fleming, P.J.S., Limin, Hua and Whisson, D.C. (2013) Impacts and management of invasive burrowing herbivores in grasslands. Pp. 1600-1608 In. (Eds D.L. Michalk, G.D. Millar, W.B. Badgery and K.M. Broadfoot) Revitalising grasslands to sustain our communities: Proceedings of the 22nd International Grassland Congress. (NSW Department of Primary Industries: Orange)

Hunt, Rob J., Claridge, Andrew W., Fleming, Peter J. S., Cunningham, Ross B., Russell, Benjamin G. and Mills, Douglas J. (2014) Use of an ungulate-specific feed structure as a potential tool for controlling feral goats in Australian forest ecosystems. Ecological Management & Restoration 15, 231-238.

King, Jessica S., Brown, Graeme K., Jenkins, David J., Ellis, John T., Fleming, Peter J. S., Windsor, Peter A. and Šlapeta, Jan (2012) Oocysts and high seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in dogs living in remote Aboriginal communities and wild dogs in Australia. Veterinary Parasitology 187, 85-92.

King, Jessica S., Jenkins, David J., Ellis, John T., Fleming, Peter, Windsor, Peter A. and Šlapeta, Jan (2011) Implications of wild dog ecology on the sylvatic and domestic life cycle of Neospora caninum in Australia. The Veterinary Journal 188, 24-33.

Körtner, G., Holznagel, N., Fleming, PJS and Ballard, G. (2016 ) Home range and activity patterns measured with GPS collars in spotted-tailed quolls. Australian Journal of Zoology 63, 424-431.

Letnic, M., Laffan, S.W., Greenville, A.C., Russell, B.G., Mitchell, B. and Fleming, P.J.S. (2015) Artificial watering points are focal points for activity by an invasive herbivore but not native herbivores in conservation reserves in arid Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation 24, 1-16.

Matthews, Alison, Ruykys, Laura, Ellis, Bill, FitzGibbon, Sean, Lunney, Daniel, Crowther, Mathew S., Glen, Alistair S., Purcell, Brad, Moseby, Katherine, Stott, Jenny, Fletcher, Don, Wimpenny, Claire, Allen, Benjamin L., Van Bommel, Linda, Roberts, Michael, Davies, Nicole, Green, Ken, Newsome, Thomas, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter, Dickman, Christopher R., Eberhart, Achim, Troy, Shannon, McMahon, Clive and Wiggins, Natasha (2013) The success of GPS collar deployments on mammals in Australia. Australian Mammalogy 35, 65-83.

Meek, Paul, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter and Falzon, Greg (2016) Are we getting the full picture? Animal responses to camera traps and implications for predator studies. Ecology and Evolution, n/a-n/a.

Meek, Paul D., Ballard, Guy-Anthony and Fleming, Peter J. S. (2013) A permanent security post for camera trapping. Australian Mammalogy 35, 123-127.

Meek, Paul D., Ballard, Guy-Anthony and Fleming, Peter J. S. (2015) The pitfalls of wildlife camera trapping as a survey tool in Australia. Australian Mammalogy 37, 13-22.

Meek, Paul D., Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Fleming, Peter J. S., Schaefer, Michael, Williams, Warwick and Falzon, Greg (2014) Camera traps can be heard and seen by animals. PLoS ONE 9, e110832.

Meek, Paul D., Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Vernes, Karl and Fleming, Peter J. S. (2015) The history of wildlife camera trapping as a survey tool in Australia. Australian Mammalogy, -.

Meek , P.D. and Fleming, P.J.S. (2014) Introduction. Pp. x-xii In. (Eds P. Meek, P. Fleming, G. Ballard, P. Banks, A. Claridge, J. Sanderson and D. Swann) Camera trapping for wildlife management and research. (CSIRO Publishing, Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Royal Zoological Society of NSW: Collingwood)

Morgan, Helen R., Hunter, John T., Ballard, Guy, Reid, Nick C. H. and Fleming, Peter J. S. (In press) Trophic cascades and dingoes in Australia: does the Yellowstone wolf–elk–willow model apply? Food Webs.

Newsome, Thomas M., Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Crowther, Mathew S., Dellinger, Justin A., Fleming, Peter J. S., Glen, Alistair S., Greenville, Aaron C., Johnson, Chris N., Letnic, Mike, Moseby, Katherine E., Nimmo, Dale G., Nelson, Michael Paul, Read, John L., Ripple, William J., Ritchie, Euan G., Shores, Carolyn R., Wallach, Arian D., Wirsing, Aaron J. and Dickman, Christopher R. (2015) Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology, 23, 201-208

Newsome, Thomas M, Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Crowther, Mathew S, Fleming, Peter JS and Dickman, Christopher R (2014) Dietary niche overlap of free-roaming dingoes and domestic dogs: the role of human-provided food. Journal of Mammalogy 95, 392-403.

Newsome, Thomas M., Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Dickman, Christopher R., Fleming, Peter J. S. and Howden, Chris (2013) Anthropogenic Resource Subsidies Determine Space Use by Australian Arid Zone Dingoes: An Improved Resource Selection Modelling Approach. PLoS ONE 8, e63931.

Newsome, T.M., Ballard, G-A., Dickman, C.R., Fleming, P.J.S. and van de Ven, R. (2013) Home range, activity and sociality of a top predator, the dingo: a test of the Resource Dispersion Hypothesis. Ecography36, 914-925.

Newsome, Thomas M., Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Fleming, Peter J.S., van de Ven, Remy, Story, Georgeanna L. and Dickman, Christopher R. (2014) Human-resource subsidies alter the dietary preferences of a mammalian top predator. Oecologia 175, 139-150.

Newsome, Thomas M., Stephens, Danielle, Ballard, Guy-Anthony, Dickman, Christopher R. and Fleming, Peter J. S. (2013) Genetic profile of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and free-roaming domestic dogs (C. l. familiaris) in the Tanami Desert, Australia. Wildlife Research 40, 196-206.

Reilly, Brian K., van Hensbergen, Hubertus J., Eiselen, Riette J. and Fleming, Peter J. S. (2016) Statistical power of replicated helicopter surveys in southern African conservation areas. African Journal of Ecology, n/a-n/a.

Russell, B.G., Letnic, M. and Fleming, P.J.S. (2011) Managing feral goat impacts by manipulating their access to water in the rangelands. The Rangeland Journal 33, 143-152.

Sparkes, Jessica, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter and Brown, Wendy (2014) Social, conservation and economic implications of rabies in Australia. Australian Zoologist early online, 1-6.

Sparkes, J., Ballard, G. and Fleming, P.JS (2016) Cooperative hunting between humans and domestic dogs in eastern and northern Australia. Wildlife Research In press.

Sparkes, Jessica, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter J. S., van de Ven, Remy and Körtner, Gerhard (2016) Contact rates of wild-living and domestic dog populations in Australia: a new approach. Oecologia, 1-12.

Sparkes, J., Fleming, P. J. S., Ballard, G., Scott-Orr, H., Durr, S. and Ward, M. P. (2014) Canine rabies in Australia: A review of preparedness and research needs. Zoonoses and Public Health 62, 237-253.

Sparkes, Jessica, Körtner, Gerhard, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter J. S. and Brown, Wendy Y. (2014) Effects of sex and reproductive state on interactions between free-roaming domestic dogs. PLoS ONE 9, e116053.

Sparkes, Jessica, McLeod, Steven, Ballard, Guy, Fleming, Peter J. S., Körtner, Gerhard and Brown, Wendy Y. (2016) Rabies disease dynamics in naïve dog populations in Australia. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 131, 127-136.

Stephens, Danielle, Wilton, Alan N., Fleming, Peter J. S. and Berry, Oliver (2015) Death by sex in an Australian icon: a continent-wide survey reveals extensive hybridization between dingoes and domestic dogs. Molecular Ecology 24, 5643-5656.

Professional associations and activities

  • Australasian Wildlife Management Society
  • Australian Society for Animal Production
  • Royal Zoological Society of NSW
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Birds Australia
  • Southern African Wildlife Management Association

Fields of research

  • 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
  • 060201 Behavioural Ecology
  • 060304 Ethology and Sociobiology
  • 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
  • 070308 Plant Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds)
  • 070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens)
  • 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Wildlife management
  • Pest animal control
  • Animal disease epidemiology
  • Animal abundance estimation

Contact details

Email: peter.fleming@dpi.nsw.gov.au