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

Wildlife Research

Volume 40 Number 6 2013


Providing precise and accurate population estimates of wildlife populations remains an open problem in wildlife science, quite relevant for research, management and conservation. We used distance sampling and nocturnal detections by thermal imagery to monitor a fallow deer population and compared results with demographic projections. Nocturnal distance sampling provided precise, accurate and consistent population estimates and we showed that the proposed survey design met methodological assumptions. We provide evidence that nocturnal distance sampling represents a cost-effective method for monitoring large herbivores in forest habitats.

WR13016When deer must die: large uncertainty surrounds changes in deer abundance achieved by helicopter- and ground-based hunting in New Zealand forests

David M. Forsyth, David S. L. Ramsey, Clare J. Veltman, Robert B. Allen, Will J. Allen, Richard J. Barker, Chris L. Jacobson, Simon J. Nicol, Sarah J. Richardson and Charles R. Todd
pp. 447-458
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Wildlife managers sometimes use ground- and helicopter-hunting to reduce the undesired environmental impacts of deer populations. We investigated the effectiveness of these two methods for reducing the abundances of introduced red deer and sika deer in three New Zealand forests. We found that deer abundances declined with increasing helicopter-hunting effort but did not change with increasing ground-hunting effort, suggesting that reducing the abundances of deer in forests will require substantially more control effort than is currently believed. Photograph by Charles R. Todd.

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Commercial harvesting is commonly perceived to control feral-pig populations at low cost to the land manager. This study demonstrated that, at current harvest rates, harvesting is ineffective for the landscape-scale control of feral-pig populations. These findings will help land managers to determine whether harvesting should be encouraged (e.g. through incentives or subsidies) or supplemented with other control techniques to achieve pest management objectives. Photograph by Matthew Gentle.

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Native-forest logging is a controversial land use, although globally, practices vary greatly with selective logging potentially have less impact on biodiversity. We tested the response of one threatened species, the eastern pygmy possum Cercartetus nanus, to selective logging and burning and aimed to identify critical habitat components within a large-scale field experiment. The mosaic of disturbance created by selective logging did not negatively affect home range or den selection, suggesting that some threatened species can be successfully managed in timber production areas. Photograph by Bradley Law.

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Conflict with birds in cities is a growing problem. We compared the ecological, behavioural and life-history characteristics of species to show that those with broad diets, more than any other predictor, were more likely to cause conflict. We predict that pukeko (Porphyrio porphyria), red-billed gull (Larus scopulinus) and kākā (Nestor meridionalis) are most likely to conflict with urban residents in New Zealand. Bird species with broad diets should be the focus of proactive monitoring and management to mitigate avian–human conflict. Photograph by Kerry Charles.

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False positive detections in wildlife monitoring are often assumed to be negligible or altogether ignored, despite potentially resulting in misleading conclusions about the status and distribution of populations. We demonstrate that explicitly accounting for false positives reduces occupancy estimates highlighting also an important and overlooked source of false positives – detection of transient individuals. Effectively managing populations of conservation concern requires that the design and analyses of monitoring studies consider sources of both false positive and false negative detection errors. Photograph by Alan Ross.

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Predator-exclusion cages reduce turtle nest mortality, but their impacts on developing hatchlings have not been explored. We compared the influence of three commonly used cage types on the nest environment and hatchling phenotype and found that most cages can be deployed without substantial negative effect on the health of hatchling turtles. Our study indicates that nest caging is an effective conservation tool for promoting recruitment. Photograph by Julia Riley.

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Swamp wallabies in reserves and parks are often killed on roads. We found that wallabies caught in the roadside avoid the road, are habituated to the roadside environment and may even benefit from it. Roadside fencing and dedicated wildlife road crossings are likely to be beneficial conservation-management measures for swamp wallabies in road-effected environments. Photograph by Daniel Ramp.

WR13079Bird use of almond plantations: implications for conservation and production

Gary W. Luck, Shannon Triplett and Peter G. Spooner
pp. 523-535
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Bird use of almond crops can inflict costs on growers, but almonds may also be an important food source for some bird species. We examined spatial and temporal variation in bird use of almond crops and found that some species, including the threatened regent parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus), appear to rely more on almonds when environmental conditions limit other food resources. The role of production land uses in supporting native birds needs to be recognised by land managers. Photograph by Hugh McGregor.

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