Worldwide, invasive species present one of the most intractable problems for agriculture and natural systems. We tested the effectiveness of different trap and lure combinations for the capture of invasive starlings in South Australia and found that live lures were significantly more effective than alternative lures. We recommend that live lures continue to be used in starling control programs, but note welfare implications for the use of live lures. Photograph by Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.
Volume 39 Number 3 2012
Fences that exclude predatory cats and foxes are an effective but expensive tool for recovering many threatened Australian animals. To find the most cost-effective location for a fence we need to measure the benefit to threatened species from the fenced habitat against construction/maintenance costs and compatibility with other land uses. Here we show how a structured decision approach can identify the optimal location and encourage further project support. Photograph by Judy Dunlop/DEC.
WR11149Uncovering the secret lives of sewer rats (Rattus norvegicus): movements, distribution and population dynamics revealed by a capture–mark–recapture study
Rats are well known as inhabitants of sewer systems, but go mostly unnoticed. A live-trapping study in Denmark now shows that rats use all dimensions of sewer pipes but breeding seems concentrated in smaller and drier pipes. Most individuals are resident and live in small groups. Sewer rat management should be spread out as most rats move over short areas only. Photograph by Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory.
WR11135 Good dog! Using livestock guardian dogs to protect livestock from predators in Australia's extensive grazing systems
Wild predators are a serious threat to livestock in Australia. This research evaluates the effectiveness of livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) for stock protection, and the factors influencing effectiveness, with particular reference to large rangeland enterprises. Our results show that LGDs can be highly successful in reducing predation on livestock in Australia, and could play a major role in mitigating human–wildlife conflict. Photograph by Linda van Bommel.
WR11130 Prediction of the nutritional composition of the crop contents of free-living scarlet macaw chicks by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy
Our knowledge of bird nutrition is limited in part by the difficulty of accurately determining the nutrition of diets through feeding observation and analysis of dietary items. The present research establishes near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy as a valid technique for the non-destructive, low-cost prediction of nutritional attributes of avian crop content samples as small as 0.5-g dry weight. This technique provides new analytical possibilities for wildlife nutrition research. Photograph by Juan Cornejo.
Understanding elephant poaching patterns and identifying areas at greatest risk to poaching is critical in formulating management strategies that will stabilise and increase elephant populations following years of decline. This study found heightened poaching activity near the edges of the parks where human–wildlife conflicts were most intense and in areas with a history of insecurity. Mitigating human–wildlife conflicts and targeted deployment of anti-poaching patrols may help reduce elephant poaching in Kenya. Photograph by KWS security database.
WR11153Changes in population abundance, reproduction and habitat use of the rice-field rat, Rattus argentiventer, in relation to rice-crop growth stage in a lowland rice agroecosystem in Vietnam
The current study is the first one on the population abundance, habitat use and reproduction of Rattus argentiventer conducted in the Mekong Delta which is an important area of rice production in Vietnam, contributing about 85% of national rice exports. The result would potentially be of assistance in the development of appropriate strategies for managing this pest. Photograph by Nguyen Thi My Phung.
Effective pest animal management requires an understanding of how animals use space and habitat, but this is difficult to predict for feral cats because their behaviour varies depending on the resources and conditions in a particular landscape. We used GPS tracking collars to estimate home range sizes and habitat preferences of feral cats on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and used this information to develop local guidelines for cat management. These methods should also be applicable to other species and situations. Photograph by Andrew Bengsen.
Data on food habits are essential in ecology and conservation of amphibians and when possible, killing animals should be avoided. We compared two non-lethal methods, stomach flushing and faecal analysis, in salamanders and proved the former less biased, because during digestion small prey items completely disappear while indigestible prey items become dominant. Therefore, if we want to understand the functional role of salamanders in the ecosystem, stomach flushing should always be preferred. Photograph by Federico Crovetto.
To control American bullfrog, an amphibian causing substantial ecological damage around the globe, different management treatments were investigated in an experimental setup in small shallow ponds. Predation by native northern pike led to a strong decline in bullfrog tadpole numbers, whereas no effect of complete drawdown with amphibian and fish removal was observed. Thus, biomanipulation of permanent water bodies seem a good candidate for effective and sustainable control of invasive bullfrog. Photograph by Sander Devisscher.