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

Wildlife Research

Volume 43 Number 5 2016

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Koala mortality from road strike is recognised as a major threatening process for this iconic species. Using complementary monitoring technologies, we investigated whether retrofitted road structures (e.g. augmented water management structures) were utilised by koalas to safely cross roads. Our results, while encouraging, showed that only a small proportion of koalas actually utilised structures which may have conservation and management implications. Photograph by Griffith University Applied Road Ecology.

WR15231Roads, routes and rams: does sexual segregation contribute to anthropogenic risk in a desert-dwelling ungulate?

Vernon C. Bleich, Jericho C. Whiting, John G. Kie and R. Terry Bowyer
pp. 380-388

Sexual segregation is seldom considered in the context of the effects of anthropogenic features on bighorn sheep or other mountain ungulates. We evaluated the propensity of males and females to cross a paved two-lane road and a single-lane dirt route as a function of sexual segregation. Failure to consider sexual segregation when assessing potential impacts of roadways on movements could result in missed opportunities to develop mitigation measures.

Several tools are available to manage pocket gophers, but data are often lacking on their efficacy and cost effectiveness. Our study determined that trapping was generally the most practical approach, although burrow fumigants are effective tools in some situations as well. These techniques can be combined into an integrated pest management program to effectively manage pocket gophers in a variety of landscapes.

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Appropriate management of wide-ranging species like tiger in isolated small protected areas warrants understanding of fine-scale use of habitat. We assessed habitat use by tigers and found that their fine-scale habitat use was best predicted by preferred habitat features such as local prey availability, habitat types, distance to human settlements, and access to water. In small protected areas, wide-ranging species like tiger may persist at high population density by intensively focusing their activity on small, highly suitable portions of their home ranges. Photograph by Hemanta Kafley.

WR15187Modelling survival and breeding dispersal to unobservable nest sites

Giacomo Tavecchia, Ana Sanz-Aguilar and Belinda Cannell
pp. 411-417
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When studying natural populations, typically only a proportion of the nests is monitored. This leads to an underestimation of demographic parameters due to animal moving to unobservable or unmonitored nests. We illustrated a new modelling approach merging capture–recapture data of little penguin taken at artificial nests with those taken at night on the arriving beaches. Survival was 8% higher than when recaptures at artificial nests were analysed alone. The merging of different source of data can be used in any study in which only a portion of the breeding sites are monitored to obtained unbiased estimates of demographic parameters. Photograph by Leighton De Barros.

WR15205Birth-site selection and timing of births in American bison: effects of habitat and proximity to anthropogenic features

Joshua Kaze, Jericho C. Whiting, Eric D. Freeman, Steven B. Bates and Randy T. Larsen
pp. 418-428

Human activities can affect habitat selection by ungulates during parturition. We investigated timing of births and birth-site selection of bison to determine the relative influence of vegetation, topography, and distance to trails, roads, or structures on selection of birthing habitat. Bison selected areas for birthing with concave topography and increased elevation that were away from trails, roads, or structures.

WR15230An animal welfare assessment framework for helicopter darting: a case study with a newly developed method for feral horses

Jordan O. Hampton, Hamish Robertson, Peter J. Adams, Timothy H. Hyndman and Teresa Collins
pp. 429-437
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Chemical immobilisation can be deployed from a helicopter to capture large wild herbivores, but reporting of animal welfare impacts is inconsistent. We present a quantitative animal welfare framework for standardising assessment of helicopter darting, using Australian feral horses as a case study. Use of this framework could allow refinement of existing and newly developed helicopter darting methods. Photograph by Jordan Hampton.

WR15218Vegetation management influences habitat use by mammalian herbivores in shrub-encroached grassy woodland

Naomi E. Davis, Julian Di Stefano, Graeme Coulson, Jim Whelan and John Wright
pp. 438-447
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Vegetation restoration is often a conservation goal in its own right, but may influence habitat use by mammalian herbivores, resulting in unintended consequences for managers. We used a management experiment (mechanical slashing of an encroaching shrub) to show that vegetation management influenced habitat use for four out of five mammalian herbivores studied. Species responses were not always well predicted by prior knowledge of diet and habitat preferences and additional knowledge of the processes underlying their responses is required to improve vegetation management plans. Photograph by Jim Whelan (Parks Victoria).

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