Public opposition to lethal methods to resolve human–wildlife conflicts has led to an increasing demand for non-lethal options, such as fertility control, to manage wildlife. The present review analysed trends in research on fertility control for wildlife, illustrated developments in fertility-control technologies and delivery methods of fertility-control agents, and summarised the results of studies of fertility control applied at the population level. The results indicate that fertility control, particularly of isolated populations, can be successfully used to limit population growth and reduce human-wildlife conflicts and that criteria to determine whether fertility control should be used should include public consultation, considerations about animal welfare and feasibility, evaluation of population responses, costs and sustainability. Photograph by Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
Volume 41 Number 1 2014
WR13054Extinction in Eden: identifying the role of climate change in the decline of the koala in south-eastern NSW
There was once enough koalas in south-eastern NSW to support a pelt trade, but they are now rare. This study has demonstrated that drought and rising temperatures – manifestations of climate change – have progressively compounded the recognised threats to koalas from an increasing human population and habitat loss. At the local level, there is a need for adaptation strategies for individual species, such as koalas, through local plans of management in response to the challenges of climate change. Photograph by Daniel Lunney.
WR14031Estimates of abundance and apparent survival of coastal dolphins in Port Essington harbour, Northern Territory, Australia
There are serious global conservation concerns for inshore dolphin species, but the status of species in north Australian waters is poorly understood. Over a 2.9-year period, we estimated population size of the Australian snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni), humpback (Sousa sp.) and bottlenose (Tursiops sp.) at a remote and largely unmodified site in the Northern Territory, Australia. This study contributes to a better understanding of the conservation status of these three species, provides one of the few benchmarks against which population size in impacted areas can be compared, and will help guide methodologies for environmental impact assessments for the projected rapid development of much of the north Australian coastline. Photograph by Carol Palmer.
WR13195Recolonisation of rabbit warrens following coordinated ripping programs in Victoria, south-eastern Australia
The destruction of warrens of the European rabbit has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for their control. Recolonisation of ripped warrens was shown to be highly influenced by both the distance to, and size of, neighbouring active warrens. The efficacy of ripping programs for long-term control of rabbits could be increased by adopting an adaptive monitoring program incorporating warren size and spatial relationships among warrens to better target maintenance-control activities. Photograph by Ivor Stuart.
WR13108Is quantity or quality of food influencing the reproduction of rice-field rats in the Philippines?
An increase in breeding performance of rodents is often the main reason populations reach high densities. The association between the quality and quantity of food and the reproductive success of female rats in the Philippines were examined and we found that the extension of the growing season provides high-quality food for rodents and the availability of spilled rice grain at the stubble stage is a source of good-quality food for pregnant and lactating females. Synchronous planting with good post-harvest management of rice stubble are important to prevent high population densities of rice-field rats. Photograph by Nyo Me Htwe.
WR13197Locating species range frontiers: a cost and efficiency comparison of citizen science and hair-tube survey methods for use in tracking an invasive squirrel
Accurately tracking the range expansion of invasive species is critical as biological invasions increase worldwide. We were able to compare the cost-effectiveness and suitability of a basic citizen science sighting survey and a traditional field survey for monitoring the expanding grey squirrel range frontier in Ireland. Citizen science survey methods have the potential to be a valuable resource for mapping and managing species invasions. Photograph by Sarah Woodruff.
We developed and administered an anonymous online survey to understand the characteristics of Australian hunters. Slightly more than 7200 respondents began the survey and 94% completed it. Respondents were overwhelmingly male. Residents of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria accounted for more than 82% of all respondents. Average annual expenditure on hunting was slightly less than A$4000, which among survey participants amounted to almost A$30 million. Hunters expressed a desire to assist in various pest- and land-management practices. Photograph by Matthew Godson.
WR14065Overcoming the challenges of measuring the abundance of a cryptic macropod: is a qualitative approach good enough?
A rapid survey of relative abundance, using indicators of activity, has been widely used to monitor quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) in south west Western Australia. The relative abundances obtained with this technique were compared with population abundances obtained using mark–recapture methods and were found to over-estimate population size. This paper presents an alternative method for estimating population size based on faecal pellet counts that provides a reliable, rapid and inexpensive survey option that is potentially applicable to any cryptic, rare or mobile species. Photograph by Karlene Bain.