The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

An optimised rapid detection technique for simultaneously monitoring activity of rabbits, cats, foxes and dingoes in the rangelands

John Read A C D and Steve Eldridge B

A Arid Recovery, PO Box 150, Olympic Dam, SA 5725, Australia.

B Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, PO Box 1120, Alice Springs, NT, Australia.

C Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

The Rangeland Journal 32(4) 389-394
Submitted: 12 March 2009  Accepted: 5 August 2010   Published: 26 November 2010


A single procedure that land managers can readily use to simultaneously monitor populations of multiple pest animal species would enhance capacity to effectively manage environmental impacts in the Australian rangelands. Such a procedure should be efficient and provide a standard for data collection, enabling meaningful evaluation of changes through time. This study compared the efficiency of two indices, namely spotlight counts and a variety of passive activity indices, for detecting rabbit, cat, fox and dingo activity. Spotlight counts were more practical for estimating rabbit activity but were poor indicators of cat, fox or dingo activity. Records of animal tracks on discrete 200 m dirt road segments with favourable substrate and separated by at least 2 km are considered optimal for collectively monitoring relative changes through time in rabbit, cat, fox and dingo activity.

Additional keywords: Australia, feral animals, management, track counts.


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