Piran C. L.
White pp. 1-12
We used proximity loggers to investigate interactions among rabbits in Australia. Rabbits in the same social group maintained strong and stable associations, whereas interactions between rabbits of different groups were infrequent and less stable. These patterns were consistent across two study populations and have implications for patterns of disease transmission. Photograph by M. K. Marsh.
Munks pp. 13-29
Understanding faunal ecology is crucial to effectively manage and minimise impacts of anthropogenic habitat disturbance in production forests. This study of the influence of forest type and disturbance on Tasmania's forest fauna found that, apart from brushtail possums, small to medium mammal populations were not significantly affected by forest harvesting in the medium term. Although harvest altered abundance of some habitat features, their availability in the surrounding landscape may mitigate the potential effects of disturbance on species that rely on them. Photograph by Helen Stephens.
For research involving animals captured from the wild, a decision must be made as to the fate of these animals at the conclusion of the study. My results suggest that southern brown bandicoots maintained in captivity for non-invasive physiological experiments can be successfully released back into the wild. This provides researchers, wildlife managers and animal ethics committees with information to assist with making judgements concerning the fate of ex-research animals. Photograph by William Parkinson.
M. de L.
Taggart pp. 34-38
The removal of rats from islands can deliver immense benefits to wildlife, but only if there is minimal mortality of other species from the poison routinely used, the anti-coagulant brodifacoum. Since unique endemic species of snail are often found on the remote islands from which rats are eradicated, it is vital to know whether snails are susceptible to brodifacoum, a topic about which earlier studies have yielded conflicting results. This study, carried out on the remote South Pacific island of Henderson, indicates that the island's endemic snails are not at risk from brodifacoum.
de Tores ,
Cruz pp. 39-50
Control of introduced predators comes with risks to native (non-target) species and these risks have the potential to result in negative conservation outcomes. We assessed the risk of using a bait for cat control where the toxin is encapsulated in a pellet. The results demonstrated that cats are likely to consume the bait and pellet; however, the results also strongly implied naive species will also ingest the pellet. Photograph by Duncan Sutherland.
Pistorius pp. 51-60
Population and behavioural studies of pinnipeds require the identification of individuals over periods ranging from a single season to an entire lifetime. We examined the efficacy of hot-iron branding as a permanent marking technique in NZ sea lions confirming that 100% of animals could be identified from brands after 10 years, and that survival estimates were similar, but more robust than those of tagged animals. The technique is an effective permanent marking method, providing robust parameter estimates and not compromising survival. Photograph by P. Duignan.
Somoza pp. 61-68
The use of wild guanacos may contribute to their conservation by providing an economic alternative to rural inhabitants. Nevertheless, the physiological impacts of this activity have not been addressed yet. As a first step the acute stress response of guanacos after capture and shearing was evaluated. Serum cortisol concentration, as stress indicator, was significantly increased by handling time and this response was consistently lower in males than females. This work provides new information that can improve guanaco welfare during management and may have implications for their conservation. Photograph by Sergio Edgar Aguirre.
Waas pp. 69-76
As the success of animal translocations can be hindered by excess post-release dispersal, we tested if broadcasting conspecific song can encourage local territory settlement close to a release site. Although we found a positive short-term attraction to playback, final territory settlement was unaffected. The lack of a clear and lasting effect of song playback on long-term dispersal in our study demonstrates the limited utility of this technique as a conservation management tool for this species. Photograph by David Bradley.
Biological control of rabbits has not stopped the damage to cattle production and the environment in arid Australia. On a property, where rabbits have shown exceptional resilience to control, experimental destruction of warrens by ripping immediately reduced rabbit numbers to very low levels and seven years after ripping no active warrens were found in ripped plots. Effective control could be achieved by only ripping warrens in drought refuge areas for a fraction of the cost of ripping all warrens. Photograph by D. Berman.