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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(6)

Using faecal pellet counts along transects to estimate quokka (Setonix brachyurus) population density

Matt W. Hayward A B C D, Paul J. de Tores B, Michael J. Dillon C, Barry J. Fox A, Peter B. Banks A

A School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
B Department of Conservation and Land Management, Wildlife Research Centre, PO Box 51, Wanneroo, WA 6946, Australia.
C Department of Conservation and Land Management, Dwellingup Research Centre, Banksiadale Road, Dwellingup, WA 6213, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Current address: Terrestrial Ecology Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth 6031, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Email: hayers111@aol.com
 
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Abstract

A study was conducted to determine the validity of using transect counts of faecal pellet groups to estimate population densities of a threatened, macropodid marsupial – the quokka (Setonix brachyurus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830)). Mark–recapture estimates of population density were regressed against counts of faecal pellet groups at six sites with and three sites without fox control within the northern jarrah forest of Western Australia. Significant linear relationships were found between population density and pellet counts for all sites (r2 = 0.56, P < 0.02) and when all unbaited sites were excluded (r2 = 0.98, P < 0.01). We suggest that this method could be used for broad-scale monitoring of this threatened species.

   
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