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

Wildlife Research

Volume 42 Number 8 2015

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Fur seal populations in southern Australia are recovering from over-harvesting in the early nineteenth century. Two colonies in South Australia have increased at about 10% per annum over 26 years. The increase demonstrates that fur seals can recover from uncontrolled harvesting provided breeding habitat ashore is protected, and it has led to enhanced levels of interference with fishers and predation on little penguins. Photograph by David Sinclair.

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Knowing how many kangaroos live in a park or reserve is important for management. We used a kangaroo population of known size to evaluate the performance of a survey method that is widely used to count kangaroos (walked line-transect sampling). We found that the method provided accurate estimates of the number of kangaroos present. Wildlife managers can have confidence in kangaroo counts made using this survey method.

WR15083Multiple cameras required to reliably detect feral cats in northern Australian tropical savanna: an evaluation of sampling design when using camera traps

Danielle Stokeld, Anke S. K. Frank, Brydie Hill, Jenni Low Choy, Terry Mahney, Alys Stevens, Stuart Young, Djelk Rangers, Warddeken Rangers and Graeme R. Gillespie
pp. 642-649
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We provide an evaluation of sampling designs using camera traps to detect feral cats in northern Australia. Neither lure type nor micro-habitat influenced detections. Our modelled relationship between effort and detection probability can be used to optimise sample design.

WR15082Delimiting road-effect zones for threatened species: implications for mitigation fencing

J. Mark Peaden, Tracey D. Tuberville, Kurt A. Buhlmann, Melia G. Nafus and Brian D. Todd
pp. 650-659
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Roads negatively affect many wildlife species and contribute to habitat loss that often exceeds the footprint of the roads themselves. This study estimated the extent to which habitat along roads is lost for the protected Mojave desert and found that impacts increase with the size and traffic volume of roads. More habitat could be reclaimed by installing fencing along larger, higher-traffic volume roads, but current mortality would more likely be reduced by installing fencing along smaller, lower-traffic volume roads.

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Hookworms commonly parasitise young sea lion and fur seal pups causing reduced growth and survival but it is unknown if these effects later impact on long-term survival and reproduction. This study found, by investigating a control group and a sample of NZ sea lion pups treated with an anti-parasitic, a trend toward improved survival in the latter group. Anti-parasitic treatment at the crucial neonatal stage may have wider-ranging beneficial implications throughout the life of the animal.

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The endangered smoky mouse (Pseudomys fumeus) fluctuates through periods of low and high local abundance, creating difficulties in assessing whether the species is locally extinct. We report the species’ long-term persistence in the presence of drought and invasive predators, and short-term persistence in situ through a severe wildfire. We also demonstrate that at least three nights of trapping are needed to reliably detect P. fumeus when they are present at relatively high abundance. This research highlights the importance of long-term monitoring programs to adequately manage endangered species. Photograph by David Paul.

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Mapping the areal extent of southern hairy-nosed wombat warrens presents a challenge for researchers. Ground penetrating radar offers a non-invasive means of mapping warren structure, and reveals that warrens underneath a layer of calcrete limestone can consist of an extensive array of tunnels and caverns suitable for occupation by a large number of wombats. Estimates of wombat abundance need to take into account the different soil conditions in which warrens are located. Photograph by David Taggart.

WR15125Toxic Trojans: can feral cat predation be mitigated by making their prey poisonous?

J. L. Read, D. Peacock, A. F. Wayne and K. E. Moseby
pp. 689-696
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Innovative techniques are required to sustainably reduce the catastrophic effect of cat predation on prey species that are vulnerable to extinction. We propose several novel or modified feral cat control techniques that exploit cats’ innate hunting instincts and their greater susceptibility to certain toxins than native fauna. Creation of toxic cat prey could improve the sustainability and cost-effectiveness, whilst minimising non-target risks, of cat control programs.

WR15056Importance of reproductive biology of a harvest lizard, Tupinambis merianae, for the management of commercial harvesting

Sergio Naretto, Gabriela Cardozo, Cecilia S. Blengini and Margarita Chiaraviglio
pp. 697-704
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The skins of Tupinambis lizards from South America have a commercial value as leather items and have historically been harvested. We aim to determine the reproductive parameters of Tupinambis merianae and evaluate which sizes are susceptible. We offer an equation that can be used as a monitoring tool for estimating size of live animals from skins; and we determined important reproductive attributes that should be considered in management plans.

WR15011Amplified predation after fire suppresses rodent populations in Australia’s tropical savannas

Lily Leahy, Sarah M. Legge, Katherine Tuft, Hugh W. McGregor, Leon A. Barmuta, Menna E. Jones and Christopher N. Johnson
pp. 705-716

Small mammal often decline in abundance after fire, but how fire causes this change is usually not known. We intensively monitored two species of tropical rodents through experimental burns to show that declines of abundance were caused by increased predation, rather than to other possible effects of fire. Our results suggest that fire management can be used to reduce the impacts of predators on species of small mammals that are currently in decline.

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