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

Wildlife Research

Volume 39 Number 7 2012

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Large and severe fires, such as the ‘Black Saturday’ fires that burnt ~430 000 ha in Victoria in February 2009, are thought to greatly reduce the abundances of large mammals. We evaluated the impacts of the Black Saturday fires on introduced sambar deer using a variety of monitoring techniques. Although sambar deer abundances were greatly reduced in burnt habitats, we found that most burnt areas were reoccupied 16–24 months after the fires. Photograph by Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

WR12059Timing and synchrony of births in bighorn sheep: implications for reintroduction and conservation

Jericho C. Whiting, Daniel D. Olson, Justin M. Shannon, R. Terry Bowyer, Robert W. Klaver and Jerran T. Flinders
pp. 565-572
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Timing and synchrony of births can influence survival of young and growth in ungulate populations. We quantified 274 birthdates; a 29-day difference existed for birthdates between populations occupying adjacent ecoregions, which corresponded with vegetation green-up. Biologists should consider the adjustment of these life-history characteristics when reintroducing bighorns and should select release sites that are ecologically similar to sources areas. Photograph by Jericho Whiting.

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Individual seasonal movements and reproductive success of red deer are linked factors, with a great importance for management practices. Hunting could affect the proportion of shifters and residents, whereas population estimates could be biased if counts are carried out when individuals make seasonal movements. The management policy for a species, potentially moving over a wide area, should be planned emphasising coordination between hunting units. Photograph by Andrea Cadei.

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Birds accidentally die from a myriad of human causes, many of which are preventable. We found bird collisions with residential windows were a significant source of mortality for songbirds but considerable variation existed between different types of residences. Understanding this variation is important for developing effective mitigation strategies that reduce the number of birds incidentally killed by human activities. Photograph by Erin Bayne.

WR11175Detection and stratification approaches for aerial surveys of deer in prairie–parklands

Thomas J. Habib, David A. Moore and Evelyn H. Merrill
pp. 593-602
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Aerial surveys are an effective tool for estimating wildlife population sizes over large areas, but they are usually unable to detect all animals, and inappropriate survey design may lead to imprecise estimates. We compared alternative stratified survey designs for white-tailed and mule deer in Alberta, Canada, and found that designs based on quantitative habitat models might improve precision and accuracy. This cost-effective approach for comparing survey designs can be used by managers to critically evaluate alternative designs and determine a suitable strategy for their study system. Photograph by Thomas J. Habib.

WR12060Effect of traffic noise on black-faced spoonbills in the Taipa–Coloane Wetland Reserve, Macao

Min Zhang, Kuaitat Cheong, Kunfong Leong and Fasheng Zou
pp. 603-610
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The winter habitats of the globally endangered black-faced spoonbills (Platalea minor) were threatened by urban development and road construction. To assess the effects of traffic noise on the distribution and behaviour of spoonbills, we built a traffic-noise prediction model for habitat-suitability division and found that traffic noise around the reserve did exist but did not substantially affect spoonbills. This result implied that the small area of suitable habitat may indirectly limit population growth and restrictions on traffic flow are necessary. Photograph by Min Zhang.

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Dingoes are important trophic regulators on the Australian landscape and can benefit native prey species by suppressing mesopredators (e.g. cats). Using motion-detecting cameras, we found no evidence of dingoes suppressing cats spatially, but some support for activity time segregation between the two species at Taunton National Park, home of the endangered bridled nailtail wallaby. When dealing with endangered prey species, managers must evaluate the benefits dingoes provide by suppressing mesopredators and weigh them against the negative effects of direct dingo predation. Photograph by Yiwei Wang.

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European rabbit numbers are increasing rapidly again in New Zealand and effective monitoring techniques are required to quantify control outcomes. We evaluated camera traps as a method of monitoring rabbit numbers and determined that cameras had good statistical power to detect large reductions in rabbit numbers. We recommend cameras as a robust alternative index where other indices might not be suitable or practical. Photograph by Kevin Drew.

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Non-invasive genetic studies often use DNA from items such as shed feathers or faeces to investigate rare or elusive animals. New methods now allow the detection of species indirectly using environmental DNA (eDNA), which can be obtained from water or soil samples. Using eDNA methods, we detected an amphibian species of conservation concern under a range of densities using fewer person-hours than traditional survey methods. Photograph by Jeff Briggler.

WR12051Global assessment of establishment success for amphibian and reptile invaders

Rodrigo B. Ferreira, Colin M. Callahan, Sharon A. Poessel and Karen H. Beard
pp. 637-640
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Amphibians and reptiles are being introduced to areas outside their native range all over the world. We found that over half the amphibians and reptiles that are introduced establish in these non-native areas. If we want to reduce the number of non-native amphibians and reptiles globally, we need to focus on reducing the number of introductions because if they are introduced they have a high likelihood of establishing. Photograph by Ryan Choi.

WR12079Endangered anurans in a novel forest in the highlands of Sri Lanka

Rohan S. Pethiyagoda Jr and Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi
pp. 641-648
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Some 35% of Earth’s terrestrial extent is now occupied by ‘novel ecosystems’ (lands without agricultural or urban use embedded within agricultural and urban regions) that are usually poor in native plant diversity and hence neglected for conservation purposes. Such a novel ecosystem in the Sri Lankan highlands, however, is home to 12 of 15 amphibian species occurring in nearby montane forest, including eight that are globally endangered. If included in the planning process, such novel ecosystems may offer important biodiversity-conservation opportunities. Photograph by Rohan S. Pethiyagoda, Jr.

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