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

Wildlife Research

Volume 43 Number 4 2016

WR16030Soil phosphorus predicts feral pig (Sus scrofa) occupancy, detection probability and feeding activity in a temperate montane rainforest

David M. Forsyth, Robert B. Allen, Roy K. J. Allen, Kathrin Affeld and Darryl I. MacKenzie
pp. 277-287
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Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) are a widespread invasive species but little is known about their habits in temperate rainforest. We used a grid of cameras to investigate how pigs used a New Zealand rainforest and found that soil phosphorus best predicted pig activity, including feeding. Our study highlights how cameras can reveal the habits of cryptic wildlife in rugged environments.

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Shorebird declines are linked to disturbance from human activities. We examined if disturbance of nesting snowy plovers varied by location or activity type and found that bird response depended on location and whether or not the approaching person was walking a dog. Buffer zones around shorebird nests must account for location and types of activities encountered, implying the need for more conservative buffers. Photograph by Hugh McLaughlin.

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Removing non-native invasive species from islands is a valuable tool to protect native species, but carries the risk that some native species may be inadvertently killed in the process. We studied whether using a different colour of bait, which is typically used to eliminate invasive rats from islands, may reduce the risk to a native flightless rail species. Our results show that Henderson crakes consumed fewer blue than green bait pellets, and that selecting an appropriate bait colour could reduce the negative side-effects of a popular conservation tool. Photograph by Steffen Oppel.

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Invasions by non-native plants alter the distribution of resources in ways that can affect the demography of animal populations. We found that the life-history strategy of a common rodent changed markedly in invaded areas relative to native grasslands. If life-history changes in response to environmental conditions are common, single demographic parameters could provide misleading measures of conservation and management activities.

WR15134Live-capture of feral cats using tracking dogs and darting, with comparisons to leg-hold trapping

Hugh W. McGregor, Jordan O. Hampton, Danielle Lisle and Sarah Legge
pp. 313-322
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Feral cats are often difficult to capture and/or recapture, limiting potential research on their impacts. We present an alternative capture method: using tracking dogs and darting. This technique proved more effective and efficient than soft-jaw leg-hold trapping, enabled reliable recapture of individuals and resulted in no serious injuries. Using these methods could improve the efficiency and outcomes of catching feral cats and other cryptic or rare species. Photograph by Wayne Lawer.

WR16045Dietary overlap and co-existence of sympatric wild yak, Tibetan wild ass and Tibetan antelope in Arjin Shan National Nature Reserve, Xinjiang Province, China

Jianbin Shi, Feiying Lu, Xiaowen Li, Zihui Zhang, Xukun Su, Shikui Dong, Huadong Xu and Xiang Zhang
pp. 323-331
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There is limited understanding of how wild yak, Tibetan wild ass and Tibetan antelope interact with each other on the Tibetan Plateau. Our study aimed to assess their dietary interaction, and found generally low dietary overlaps among them, suggesting dietary divergence. Dietary competition may have shaped their dietary divergence, contributing to their co-existence on the Plateau. Photograph by Jianbin Shi.

WR15216Effective field-based methods to quantify personality in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)

Valentina S. A. Mella, Jordan Krucler, Lakshmi Sunderasan, Jason Hawkins, Anushika P. H. M. Herath, Kyla C. Johnstone, Sandra M. Troxell-Smith, Peter B. Banks and Clare McArthur
pp. 332-340

Development of methods to quickly assess animal personality can be challenging. We describe for the first time a series of effective field-based tests to easily quantify personality traits of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). Our study can be used as a baseline for future research, when personality profiles of individual possums need to be determined for management or control strategies.

WR15223The role of non-declining amphibian species as alternative hosts for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in an amphibian community

Michelle P. Stockwell, Deborah S. Bower, John Clulow and Michael J. Mahony
pp. 341-347

Pathogens with reservoir hosts have been responsible for many disease-induced wildlife extinctions. This study investigated whether the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), a threatened species highly susceptible to infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), co-occurred with reservoirs hosts and identified four species carrying infection in the absence of signs of disease. The existence of reservoir hosts in this system must therefore be considered in future threat mitigation and conservation efforts.


Female teat number varies among Antechinus agilis populations inhabiting the same general area in SE Australia in a manner possibly resulting in females with more teats producing more weaned progeny per breeding event. Using radio-tracking, we tested whether ten-teat females required a larger and/or more exclusive home range than six-teat females in which to rear their litter. Ten-teat females occupied fairly exclusive home ranges ~1.7 times larger than those of six-teat females. However, food availability was similar in ten-teat and six-teat areas, so the larger home range of ten-teat females may have been crucial in procuring sufficient food to successfully feed their larger litter.

WR15209Population dynamics of feral horses (Equus caballus) in an exotic coniferous plantation in Australia

Magdalena A. Zabek, David M. Berman, Simon P. Blomberg, Christina W. Collins and John Wright
pp. 358-367
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Reliable information of population dynamics is indisputably important for feral horse population management in Australia. This study investigated fecundity and age specific survival to estimate population growth rate of feral horses in a coniferous environment in south-east Queensland. Population growth rate was most sensitive to changes in adult survival; therefore, the most effective long-term management strategy would involve removal of adult horses from the population. Photograph by Magdalena Zabek.

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