Overabundant wild boar and feral pigs are associated with disease transmission and negative impacts on agriculture, native wildlife and, particularly where they occur around urban areas, public safety. Fertility control through immunocontraception could offer an alternative approach to population management in situations where lethal control is undesirable or impractical. In a field-based pilot trial we found that wild boar responded to fertility control and that immunocontraception had no adverse effects on behaviour or welfare. The results suggest that immunocontraception should be more widely evaluated in wild boar and feral pig populations. Photograph by NWMC/AHVLA.
Volume 41 Number 3 2014
WR13202Effects of coordinated poison-baiting programs on survival and abundance in two red fox populations
Coordinated poison baiting programs are widely used for reducing fox predation on livestock in Australia, but the effects of these programs on fox populations have rarely been tested. I used animal-triggered cameras and GPS tracking collars to monitor two fox populations subjected to coordinated baiting programs and found that many foxes survived baiting. Maximising landholder participation in baiting programs is important, but participants should also strive to maximise the number of foxes on their property that consume baits. Photograph by Andrew Bengsen.
WR14052Interactions between the superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) and fire in south-eastern Australia
Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) foraging is likely to affect Eucalyptus forest vegetation and fuel loads and hence fire behaviour. In turn, fire is likely to reduce the abundance and influence the distribution of lyrebirds. We found lyrebird foraging was concentrated in unburnt forest patches, where they reduced litter fuel loads by 25%. Alternative stable states may emerge in forests as a result of feedback mechanisms among lyrebirds, vegetation and fuel accumulation, with implications for conservation and fire management.
WR14050Responses of red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi) to windrows of woody debris along forest–clearcut edges
Southern red-backed voles disappear from coniferous and mixed forests of western North America that have been harvested by clearcutting. Post-harvest woody debris arranged in large piles and windrows supports populations of this vole and they may potentially use these paths of connectivity to cross clearcuts. If the prey base is present, windrow connectivity may enhance these open areas for small weasels and other carnivores and help maintain abundance and diversity of some forest mammals on clearcuts. Photograph by Dru Sullivan.
We distil the key lessons learned from a long-term campaign to control predation of seabirds by foxes. Foxes on Phillip Island, Australia, have been targeted for more than 58 years, but control was effective only after employing a dedicated team and implementing island-wide baiting. Critical to adopting the best management strategy was determining the relationship between predator numbers and impacts on prey populations, and evaluating the efficacy of control methods independently of personal and public biases. Photograph by Phillip Island Nature Parks.
Reforesting fragmented landscapes through ecological restoration enhances conservation of tropical rainforest small mammals. Small-mammal use of tropical rainforest restoration can increase species persistence within the landscape. By assessing small-mammal community composition within revegetated habitats, we determined that the small-mammal community progressed towards that of a rainforest as habitat aged, becoming similar to rainforest 16-years after planting. Commencing revegetation without delay is vital to prevent further population declines and maximise the conservation of small rainforest mammals. Photograph by Tegan Whitehead.
WR14038Using multiple methods to assess detection probabilities of riparian-zone anurans: implications for monitoring
Deer are increasing worldwide, yet little research has been published on introduced deer in Australia. We found that some important home range and movement parameters of GPS-collared wild red deer in south-eastern Queensland differed from reports for red deer in Europe. This research will allow better targeted management of this introduced species. Photograph by Matt Amos.
WR13217Limbless geckoes hanging on? Lessons in exploiting arid-zone unpredictability from an elusive habitat-specialist pygopod
The bronzeback legless lizard is an endemic and vulnerable reptile that is poorly understood due to cryptic fossorial behaviour in the remote stony deserts of inland Australia. Local community volunteers used non-standard methods to gather 30 new distributional records of the species, revealing a less fragmented distribution than previously thought, yet a reliance on discreet microhabitats that are prone to severe and long-lasting disturbance. This study highlights the value of using multiple, innovative data sources in the study of rare and cryptic species. Photograph by Aaron Fenner.