The utilisation of camera traps in science is occurring at warp speed yet the technology does not always match the demands required of a wildlife research tool. Camera trap designs and technology have been primarily influenced by the market demands of hunters, but in recent years the market is changing and in this paper we describe how scientists can and will influence camera-trap designs. We describe a detailed list of features and specifications for an ultimate camera trap to assist manufacturers and users to recognise what is important in designing camera traps for wildlife research. Photograph by Paul Meek.
Volume 39 Number 8 2012
WR12008Influence of landscape structure on invasive predators: feral cats and red foxes in the brigalow landscapes, Queensland, Australia
The interaction of invasive predators with agricultural landscapes is of high concern to wildlife managers. We approached this issue by investigating the variation of the frequency of red-fox and feral-cat detections among landscapes and habitat patches of varying complexity and found that their detection rates increased in more complex landscapes and habitats. This has important implications for understanding invasive predator and landscape interactions, which can be applied to control programs and landscape design to mitigate their impacts. Photograph by Cameron A. Graham.
Understanding movement patterns of endangered species can be important to minimise the loss of individuals from the translocation sites. We found that most movement occurs in the spring time when adult male pygmy bluetongue lizards are mobile. We discuss the implications of using more mobile members of a population for translocation purposes. Photograph by Julie Schofield.
WR12142Facilitated movement over major roads is required to minimise extinction risk in an urban metapopulation of a gliding mammal
Urban landscapes of eastern Australia are typified by dense road networks interspersed with remnant patches of bushland. We used population modelling to test whether a metapopulation of squirrel gliders could persist within such a landscape in Brisbane and found that a lack of inter-patch movement caused by large road canopy gaps in tandem with wildfire resulted in a high probability of local extinction. This was substantially reduced by enabling a small rate of inter-patch movement, most plausibly by installing road-crossing structures. Source: © 2012 Google Earth; © 2012 Sinclair Knight Merz & Fugro.
WR12092Can citizen science monitor whale-shark aggregations? Investigating bias in mark–recapture modelling using identification photographs sourced from the public
The popularity of social media and sharing images online offers a novel opportunity for monitoring wild populations. We assessed the usefulness of photographs taken by tourists in monitoring a whale shark aggregation, showing that these data allowed for the accurate estimation of whale shark abundance using mark–recapture methods. Our findings promote the role of citizen science in monitoring whale shark aggregations, particularly in regions where tourism is high but research funding is limited. Photograph by Tim Davies.
WR11214Ecological and physiological impacts of salinisation on freshwater turtles of the lower Murray River
Knowledge of freshwater species’ tolerance to salinisation is critical to effectively manage globally disturbed freshwater systems. Turtles showed little response to brackish water but suffered heavy colonisation from a marine worm in saline areas. Whereas physiological tolerance alone may not constrain the persistence of freshwater biota in saltwater environments, ecological interactions arising from salinisation may have equally problematic effects. Photograph by Keith Walker.
Trophy hunting is increasingly considered as a good tool to fund conservation but rare species could be highly affected by this activity. The upgrade of a species’ International Union for Conservation of Nature status to the endangered category leads to an increase in the number of trophies recorded in one of the largest hunting clubs. The value attributed to species rarity in trophy hunting and likely in other activities could prevent the application of protection measures aimed at lowering their exploitation. Photograph by Stéphanie Periquet.
WR11209Lagomorph and sheep effects on vegetation growth in dry and mesic grasslands in Otago, New Zealand
Decisions on when and where to apply rabbit control are strengthened by cost–benefit analyses. This requires relationships between rabbit densities and the amount of vegetation (available to domestic animals) to be measured, and we have shown how changing rabbit and sheep densities affect vegetation growth in different seasons in dry grassland habitats in New Zealand. The waning benefits of rabbit haemorrhagic disease makes understanding these relationships more important in judging when to intervene with conventional control. Photograph by John Parkes.
WR12110Short-term response of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta, and the southern brown bandicoot, Isoodon obesulus obesulus, to low-intensity prescribed fire in heathland vegetation
Although prescribed fires are used to reduce bushfire hazard, the impacts of prescribed fire on bandicoot species are poorly understood. We tracked a population of bandicoots before, during and after a prescribed fire and found that all animals survived the fire and remained in the area following the fire. Further research into fire management practices is required to adequately manage fauna in fire-prone areas. Photograph by Anna Warr.