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

Wildlife Research

Volume 41 Number 2 2014

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Wedge-tailed eagles are often considered to be highly dependent on introduced wild rabbits as prey. However, the spread of myxomatosis and subsequently rabbit haemorrhagic disease did not result in a general decline in eagle abundance, reduced clutch-size or poor nesting success. The conservation of wedge-tailed eagles should not be seen as an obstacle for continuing rabbit control for other conservation objectives, especially those that enhance populations of native prey such as kangaroos. Photograph by Mark Osgood.

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We evaluated two existing bioeconomic tools, the Project Prioritisation Protocol and INFFER, in guiding funding decisions and in guiding project design for community-led conservation projects. Both provide quantitative, transparent processes for the relative evaluation and ranking of competing projects by funders, but are sensitive to species and/or asset valuation and benefit estimates, so users should not accept scores and project rankings uncritically. Their use encourages community groups to document costs, conservation benefits and risks and to develop specific and measurable management outcomes. Photograph by Marie Haley.

WR13136First in, first served: uptake of 1080 poison fox baits in south-west Western Australia

Shannon J. Dundas, Peter J. Adams and Patricia A. Fleming
pp. 117-126
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Distribution of 1080 baits is an important management tool for the control of foxes. However, little is known about the fate of ground-laid baits. Of 100 known-fate baits monitored with cameras, 99 were taken by non-target species, while 95% of 299 baits monitored for presence/absence had been removed by day 7. The high rates of non-target interference with baits observed are likely to reduce opportunities for foxes to find and consume baits, which should be considered in fox control programs. Photograph by Shannon Dundas.

WR13216Quantitative analysis of animal-welfare outcomes in helicopter shooting: a case study with feral dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius)

Jordan O. Hampton, Brendan D. Cowled, Andrew L. Perry, Corissa J. Miller, Bidda Jones and Quentin Hart
pp. 127-135
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Helicopter shooting is an important management tool for large invasive mammals, but uncertainty regarding the humaneness of the practice has seen its popularity decline. This study quantified animal welfare outcomes for the helicopter shooting of feral dromedary camels and identified factors explaining these outcomes. The humaneness and societal acceptance of future wildlife shooting programs could be improved by applying scientific evaluation to contexts that remain contentious. Photograph by Corissa Miller.

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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is the only successful biological control of a vertebrate pest in New Zealand since it was illegally introduced in 1997, but its effects on rabbit populations have been determined largely by one method – spotlight counts. Twenty-three years of data from a region-wide hunting competition suggests the disease is still killing rabbits but its effects are waning. This use of ‘citizen science’ to understand the effects of a major wildlife disease will help to improve future rabbit-management strategies. Photograph by Carlos Rouco.

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Although introduced rabbits are a major pest in Australia, the quality and amount of food eaten in the wild is poorly documented. Data on the quality of food from stomachs of shot rabbits and daily water turnover, measured using dilution of tritiated water in caged and free-living rabbits, were reviewed to resolve this problem. The results will enable the impact of wild rabbits on agricultural production and native vegetation to be better quantified. Photograph by SA Lands Department.

WR13224Floodplain amphibian abundance: responses to flooding and habitat type in Barmah Forest, Murray River, Australia

Heather M. McGinness, Anthony D. Arthur, Keith A. Ward and Paula A. Ward
pp. 149-162
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Information on the drivers of frog presence and abundance is required to support adaptive management of floodplain wetlands and associated water resources. This study uses data from 6 years of surveys at Barmah Forest to explore how flood frequency, flood timing and habitat type affect resident frog species. It emphasises the value of well-vegetated grassy wetlands and managed flooding for maintenance of frog communities and identifies knowledge gaps to drive future data collection for improved modelling. Photograph by Keith Ward.

WR13205Factors influencing occurrence of a freshwater turtle in an urban landscape: a resilient species?

Danielle Stokeld, Andrew J. Hamer, Rodney van der Ree, Vincent Pettigrove and Graeme Gillespie
pp. 163-171
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Urbanisation has been implicated as a contributing factor in the decline of freshwater turtles by causing habitat degradation. We investigated the effects of urbanisation on the eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) in greater Melbourne, southeastern Australia, and found weak evidence for adverse effects. While some species of turtle are likely to be resilient to the impacts of urbanisation, the effects are likely to be species specific and further studies are required to ascertain the impacts on a wider array of species. Photograph by Danielle Stokeld.

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Knowledge of population characteristics of pest species is important in predicting population responses to management and plays a key role in management decisions. This work compares population characteristics of Norway rats and house mice living in different habitats and geographic regions and relates them to environmental characteristics. Both species are able to modify their reproductive strategies according to environmental characteristics, especially according to the degree of anthropisation. Photograph by Gerardo Rubén Cueto.

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