Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Quantifying trends and predictors of decline in eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) populations in a rapidly urbanising landscape

Elizabeth A. Brunton A B , Sanjeev K. Srivastava A , David S. Schoeman A and Scott Burnett A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs, Qld 4556, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: ebrunton@usc.edu.au

Pacific Conservation Biology - https://doi.org/10.1071/PC17034
Submitted: 7 September 2017  Accepted: 15 January 2018   Published online: 20 February 2018

Abstract

Human population growth and the resultant expansion of urban landscapes are drivers of biodiversity loss globally. Impacts of urbanisation on wildlife are not well understood, although the importance of preserving biodiversity in urban areas is widely recognised. The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus), a common species of large macropod, can be found in high densities in many urban landscapes across Australia. South East Queensland is a subtropical region of Australia that has experienced high rates of urban expansion. Human population growth in the region has resulted in widespread changes to the landscape and much of the eastern grey kangaroo’s natural habitat has been modified. Declines in kangaroo populations have been anecdotally reported; however, the impact of urbanisation on kangaroo populations has not been quantified. This study used a modelling approach, collecting data from the community, and private and government organisations to: (1) map the current distribution of eastern grey kangaroos; (2) quantify trends in kangaroo abundance; and (3) identify anthropogenic drivers of changes in kangaroo abundance in the region. Of the kangaroo populations identified, 42% were reported to have undergone an overall decline in abundance since 2000. Higher human population growth rate and smaller area remaining under natural land use were predictors of kangaroo population declines. Further kangaroo declines can be anticipated in the region, particularly in areas with projected human population growth rates over 80% for the next decade. This study emphasises the importance of integrated urban development over large spatial extents to mitigate impacts of urbanisation on terrestrial mammals.

Additional keywords: citizen science, community wisdom, macropod, south-east Queensland, urban wildlife


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