Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Targeted field testing of wildlife road-crossing structures: koalas and canopy rope-bridges

Ross L. Goldingay A B and Brendan D. Taylor A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: ross.goldingay@scu.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy 39(1) 100-104 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16014
Submitted: 24 March 2016  Accepted: 17 June 2016   Published: 19 July 2016

Abstract

The suitability of structures installed to enable safe passage of wildlife across a road is most frequently determined by monitoring of structures after new roads are built. Rarely are new structures field tested before installation. We installed canopy rope-bridges in an area frequented by koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) with the explicit aim of determining whether koalas might use such structures. Rope-bridges were of four different designs to maximise the likelihood that one might be used, as a precursor to further replication. Infrared cameras were installed on the rope-bridges as well as on two nearby reference trees to compare frequency of use. Over a monitoring period of 2.9 years no koalas were detected on the rope-bridges whereas koalas were recorded on the reference trees on 34 and 41 different 24-h periods. Rope-bridges may not be suited to an arboreal mammal that is inclined to travel along the ground to move between trees.


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