Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
Wildlife Research

Wildlife Research

Volume 38 Number 6 2011

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Frequencies of human–wildlife interactions are rising globally and potential impacts on animals need to be addressed through appropriate conservation management. In the present study, we verified that close approach distances by boat impede feeding and resting behaviour of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins targeted by Australia’s largest dolphin-watching industry. We recommend that existing NSW regulations regarding boat distances be upheld within management plans, not watered down. This will both sustain a viable tourism industry and minimise deleterious effects on the dolphins. Photograph by Andre Steckenreuter.

WR11045Does farm-scale habitat composition predict pest-bird numbers and distribution?

Catriona J. MacLeod, Daniel M. Tompkins, Keven W. Drew and Nick Pyke
pp. 464-474
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Bird damage to horticultural crops causes significant economic losses worldwide; however, because such damage is unpredictable, it is difficult to manage. In New Zealand, the habitat and seed resources on farms only partially predict pest-bird abundance on those farms. Thus, for both effective and economically viable management to reduce crop damage, coordinated programs across multiple farms are likely to be necessary. Photograph by Keven Drew.

WR11063Movement patterns by Egernia napoleonis following reintroduction into restored jarrah forest

Kimberley Christie, Michael D. Craig, Vicki L. Stokes and Richard J. Hobbs
pp. 475-481
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Animal reintroduction as a tool for meeting restoration objectives and maintaining local biodiversity is a relatively recent practice and can be a useful management technique within natural environments. This research attempted to relocate a reptile species into restored mine sites; however, it was found to be unsuccessful due to the lack of suitable micro-habitats within restoration areas, such as ground logs and coarse, woody debris piles. This therefore highlights the need to determine the habitat requirements of a species and replicate this in restoration sites prior to reintroduction. Photograph by Kimberley Christie.

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Successful biodiversity conservation requires understanding that individual fauna species have specific habitat requirements. The term ‘rehabilitation’ is not informative about the habitat variables that matter to target fauna species, and rehabilitation that is species rich does not tell the story of individual species’ losses and gains. Rehabilitation should not be seen as an alternative to conservation of existing habitat or a strategy for approving habitat clearing. Photograph by Susan Gould.

WR11042Augmenting mark–recapture with beach counts to estimate the abundance of little penguins on Penguin Island, Western Australia

Belinda Cannell, Ken Pollock, Stuart Bradley, Ron Wooller, William Sherwin and Jennifer Sinclair
pp. 491-500
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The largest colony of Little Penguins in Western Australia is subjected to a suite of anthropogenic threats due to its proximity to an increasing urban population, but we do not know if the population is stable. We estimated the island-wide population by combining mark-recapture sampling on part of the island and beach counts of penguins arriving at night around the entire island. When other measures of breeding were lower so too was the population estimate, highlighting the need for long term monitoring of the population. Photograph by Gary Miller.

WR11089Managing the risk of exotic vertebrate incursions in Australia

Wendy Henderson, Mary Bomford and Phillip Cassey
pp. 501-508
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Preventing incursions by exotic species is by far the most cost-effective way to reduce future pest damage. We collected national data on border and post-border detections (predominantly intercepted stowaways and seizures from private keeping) of exotic vertebrates, and identified species with a high risk of establishing wild populations. Improved reporting of incursions and interceptions, collaborative inter-agency communication, and targeted action against high-risk species are crucial to prevent new pests establishing. Photograph by Elizabeth A. Roznik.

WR11064Drought-driven change in wildlife distribution and numbers: a case study of koalas in south west Queensland

Leonie Seabrook, Clive McAlpine, Greg Baxter, Jonathan Rhodes, Adrian Bradley and Daniel Lunney
pp. 509-524
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Koala populations in south-west Queensland have declined by 80% since the late 1990s due to drought and heatwaves. We quantified changes in koala populations, with a key finding being that the populations contracted to riverine habitat. With climate change predicted to lead to hotter and drier conditions in this region, koala numbers are expected to continue to decline, with their range contracting eastwards. Photograph by Leonie Seabrook.

WR11031Nest-predator prevalence along a mountain birch–alpine tundra ecotone

Åshild Ø. Pedersen, Lasse Asmyhr, Hans Christian Pedersen and Nina E. Eide
pp. 525-536
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Nest predation is an important cause of reproductive failure in gallinaceous birds. We explore the importance of predation on willow ptarmigan through an artificial nest experiment, and document high nest predation from generalist predators, especially in areas with high load of human infrastructure. Our study reveals that generalist predators should be considered for management actions with focus on alternative management actions rather than predator control. Photograph by Nina E. Eide.

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