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  Rangeland Ecology & Management
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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(4)

An optimised rapid detection technique for simultaneously monitoring activity of rabbits, cats, foxes and dingoes in the rangelands

John Read A C D, Steve Eldridge B

A Arid Recovery, PO Box 150, Olympic Dam, SA 5725, Australia.
B Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, PO Box 1120, Alice Springs, NT, Australia.
C Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: john.read@adelaide.edu.au
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A single procedure that land managers can readily use to simultaneously monitor populations of multiple pest animal species would enhance capacity to effectively manage environmental impacts in the Australian rangelands. Such a procedure should be efficient and provide a standard for data collection, enabling meaningful evaluation of changes through time. This study compared the efficiency of two indices, namely spotlight counts and a variety of passive activity indices, for detecting rabbit, cat, fox and dingo activity. Spotlight counts were more practical for estimating rabbit activity but were poor indicators of cat, fox or dingo activity. Records of animal tracks on discrete 200 m dirt road segments with favourable substrate and separated by at least 2 km are considered optimal for collectively monitoring relative changes through time in rabbit, cat, fox and dingo activity.

Keywords: Australia, feral animals, management, track counts.

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