Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

Present and past distribution of Australian Brush-turkeys Alectura lathami in New South Wales ? implications for management

Ann Göth, Kirsty P. Nicol, Geoffrey Ross and Jim J. Shields

Pacific Conservation Biology 12(1) 22 - 30
Published: 2006


Australian Brush-turkeys Alectura latham increasingly cause a considerable human-wildlife problem in New South Wales, especially in areas where they destroy gardens through their scratching activity. Wildlife managers Jack detailed information about the overall distribution of the species, which is essential for assessing its population status and the development of sustainable management strategies. To address this, we collated 1 564 reports on Australian Brushturkey distribution, from 1788 to April 2004. We show that the birds have disappeared from areas in the south, such as near Jindabyne, and from areas in the west, such as the Pilliga. The most obvious reasons for such a contraction are habitat destruction, hunting and predation by foxes and cats. At the same time, Brush-turkeys have recently been reported in the east, in coastal areas and the periphery of cities where the birds were previously absent or extirpated. However, we argue that such an apparent expansion should be viewed with caution, as this could partly also be explained by an increase in reporting activity, reduction in hunting pressure, and feeding by members of the public. Our analysis suggests that although the species has increased in numbers in coastal areas, it has withdrawn from regions in the southern and western part of its distribution.

© CSIRO 2006

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