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

Wildlife Research

Volume 40 Number 3 2013

WR12115Importance of getting the numbers right: quantifying the rapid and substantial decline of an abundant marsupial, Bettongia penicillata

A. F. Wayne, M. A. Maxwell, C. G. Ward, C. V. Vellios, B. G. Ward, G. L. Liddelow, I. Wilson, J. C. Wayne and M. R. Williams
pp. 169-183
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A reliable measure of population size is fundamental to ecology and conservation but is often difficult to obtain. A revision of population estimates for the woylie or brush-tailed bettong, a small macropod, using a more objective and rigorous approach, reveals that the species recently declined by around 90% and 180 000 individuals in 7 years, making it eligible for Critically Endangered. The application of a decline diagnosis framework to identify the causes is relevant to the woylie and other declining species and emphasises the importance of adequate long-term monitoring, even of abundant and seemingly secure species. Photograph by Sabrina Trocini.

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Fox control in Australia is heavily reliant on ground baiting, yet it is unclear where baits should be placed to maximise bait uptake. We show that bait removal by foxes is influenced by bait placement in relation to landscape position and ground cover characteristics. Our results demonstrate the importance of bait-site selection during fox-baiting programs and will help land managers refine bait placement to improve uptake by foxes. Photograph by Andrew Carter.

WR12128Genetic profile of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and free-roaming domestic dogs (C. l. familiaris) in the Tanami Desert, Australia

Thomas M. Newsome, Danielle Stephens, Guy-Anthony Ballard, Christopher R. Dickman and Peter J. S. Fleming
pp. 196-206
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The dingo is currently at risk of extinction, with hybridisation with domestic dogs seen as a key threat. Here, we determine if human-provided resources facilitate hybridisation in the Tanami Desert of central Australia. Our results demonstrate that dingo sociality and pack structures can be altered where human-provided food and water are constantly available and suggest that this could accelerate rates of hybridisation. The development of appropriate domestic-waste management strategies to reduce opportunities for genetic mixing should therefore be a high priority in remote Australian communities. Photograph by Newmont.

WR12176No trespassing: using a biofence to manipulate wolf movements

David E. Ausband, Michael S. Mitchell, Sarah B. Bassing and Craig White
pp. 207-216
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Conserving large carnivores can be challenging because of conflicts with human land use, particularly livestock production. Canids use scent marking (i.e. faeces and urine) to establish territories and avoid intraspecific conflict and we suspect that human-deployed scent marks (i.e. biofence) could be used to manipulate the movements of grey wolves. We effectively manipulated the movements of wolves in the first year of our study, but not the second, and suggest that biofencing may be limited by the apparent necessity to maintain a continuous presence once established. Photograph by David Ausband.

WR12131Scale-dependent habitat selection by reintroduced Eld’s deer (Cervus eldi) in a human-dominated landscape

Wen-Bo Yan, Zhi-Gao Zeng, Duo Pan, Tie-Jun Wang, Qiong Zhang, Yun-Nan Fu, Xian-Mei Lin and Yan-Ling Song
pp. 217-227
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Knowledge of the habitat selection of reintroduced species is crucial to successful re-establishment of viable populations and effective conservation decision-making. We monitored reintroduced Eld’s deer in a human-dominated landscape and found that human disturbance had a strong influence on their habitat selection, but they showed certain adaptive ability and tolerance to the disturbed environment. The regions at a relatively high elevation with low human disturbance and essential food resources can be considered as potential sites of Eld’s deer reintroduction. Photograph by Zhi-Gao Zeng.

WR13011Queensland northern quolls are not immune to cane toad toxin

Beata Ujvari, Meri Oakwood and Thomas Madsen
pp. 228-231
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The release of cane toads to Australia has resulted in a massive increase in mortality of northern quolls. However, few populations still persist in toad-infested areas of Queensland. The aim of the present study was to determine whether Queensland quolls have evolved resistance to toad toxins. Our results show that Queensland quolls are not resistant and their persistence in Queensland is most likely due to optimal habitat quality as well as an innate and/or learned aversion to feeding on toads. Photograph by Jonathan Webb.

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Animals should respond to food shortages by spending more effort seeking what remains. Findings showed that locally threatened antelope moved further between one day and the next during periods when food was most deficient. Hence, movement responses can serve as early warnings of stressful conditions, enabling managers to respond before the population suffers. Photograph by Norman Owen-Smith.

WR13005Rapid species identification of eight sympatric northern Australian macropods from faecal-pellet DNA

Jessica J. Wadley, Jeremy J. Austin and Damien A. Fordham
pp. 241-249
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Conservation of vulnerable and endangered species requires a comprehensive understanding of their distribution and habitat requirements to implement effective management strategies. Visual scat surveys are a common method for monitoring populations. We developed a simple and reliable DNA-based method to identify morphologically similar macropod scats from eight sympatric species in north-eastern Australia. The method allows for rapid and non-invasive assessment of macropod species and is particularly useful for surveying populations across multiple sites. Photograph from http://pixabay.com/en/kangaroo-australia-61196/.

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Predation and land use changes have been identified as important factors in woodland caribou declines in North America. Wolves contribute to low survival of adult females, whereas wolves and alternative predators like coyotes contribute to low calf survival through complex indirect interactions that result in limited secondary predation on caribou. Increasing modification of the boreal forest by industry is likely to further alter predator-prey relationships and escalate caribou declines. Photograph by Dave Latham.

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