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A wee fact about kangaroos

CURTIN University researchers have made an exciting discovery that will surprise mine workers and kangaroos alike. The Department of Environmental Biology has found that the urine of dingos can effectively repel wild kangaroos from some areas of new-growth vegetation on mine sites. The study offers the first evidence that native predator-based chemical cues, found in urine, affect what area kangaroos choose to feed from, while increasing fear. Project leader Dr Michael Parsons said the study looked at the effect of non-native predator urine, namely coyote, but it identified that the deterrent effect on kangaroos was far greater when it came from a native predator. “When we presented tame kangaroos with coyote urine, they became interested in the new smell but, when presented with the dingo urine, they were startled and fled,” Dr Parsons said. Researchers also plan to assess the practical application of dingo urine in deterring kangaroos from regional highways to prevent collisions with vehicles. The Note hopes the heady scent won’t cause mine workers and motorists to flee instead.

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