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

Wildlife Research

Wildlife Research

Wildlife Research covers all major aspects of the ecology, management and conservation of wild animals in natural and modified habitats. Read more about the journalMore

Editors: Andrea Taylor and Piran White


Current Issue

Wildlife Research

Volume 44 Number 1 2017

WR14239Middle of the road: enhanced habitat for salamanders on unused logging roads

David L. LeGros, Brad Steinberg and David Lesbarrères
pp. 1-8
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Unused forest roads may not contribute directly to salamander road mortality but they contribute to poor habitat quality. Using coarse woody debris (CWD), we attempted to rehabilitate an unused forest road in Algonquin Provincial Park and found that salamanders preferred cover greater than 1 m2 and may even gather in numbers under artificial cover. The use of CWD may be an effective and low cost way to mitigate some of the negative impacts of forest roads. Photograph by David L. LeGros.

WR16157The Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola (Rodentia : Muridae): a first mammalian extinction caused by human-induced climate change?

Natalie L. Waller, Ian C. Gynther, Alastair B. Freeman, Tyrone H. Lavery and Luke K.-P. Leung
pp. 9-21
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The endangered Bramble Cay melomys is endemic to a low-lying sand cay threatened by ocean inundation. Surveys to confirm its conservation status failed to detect the species. The loss of the melomys probably represents the first mammalian extinction due to human-induced climate change and highlights the immediate need to mitigate predicted impacts of ocean inundation on other vulnerable species. Photograph by Ian Bell.

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Sand dunes of central Australia are inhabited by three old endemic native rodents together with house mice. Does the periodic presence of house mice during boom times negatively affect the native rodents? Our study suggests that sandy inland mouse, but not spinifex hopping mouse, populations are adversely affected. Consequently, the presence of house mice may be of conservation concern to small quadrupedal native rodents where they co-occur. Photo of a Sandy Inland Mouse taken by Peter Canty.

WR16090State-shifts of lion prey selection in the Kruger National Park

N. T. Maruping-Mzileni, P. J. Funston and S. M. Ferreira
pp. 28-39
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The impacts of changing environments are becoming more evident in animal behaviour bringing awareness to the flexibility of critical ecosystems. Predator–prey interactions reflect ecological processes that shape ecosystems and may serve as an indicator of future environmental changes. The results from this study suggest that predator- prey relationships fluctuate with changing environmental conditions; however savanna systems are currently resilient enough to recover after severe environmental disruptions.

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Pied imperial-pigeons, a shy and wary species of long-standing conservation concern, demonstrated a sudden change in behaviour when they formed a novel breeding colony in a busy urban area. We recorded a progressive decline in nest survival over three breeding seasons and found predation and anthropogenic hazards to be important causes of nest failure. Our findings highlight the need to protect the traditional breeding sites of this species in Queensland, Australia, located on certain remote small islands where relevant predators and anthropogenic hazards are rare. Photograph by Julia Hazel.

WR16130Mitigation reduces road mortality of a threatened rattlesnake

Michael Colley, Stephen C. Lougheed, Kenton Otterbein and Jacqueline D. Litzgus
pp. 48-59
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Roads are a leading cause of habitat fragmentation and population decline of wildlife. We tested the effectiveness of road mortality mitigation for a threatened rattlesnake and found that a combination of fencing to exclude snakes from the road and ecopassages to allow safe migration between habitats worked well provided that the infrastructure was continuously monitored and maintained. Photograph by Jacqueline D. Litzgus.

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Fossils show that Australia’s mammal fauna could be in even worse shape than previously thought. Mammal remains from an owl roost pre-dating European arrival in Australia’s Murray Mallee fill a gap in modern and historical records to reveal that the impacts of European colonisation on the region’s fauna have been underestimated. Young fossils provide unique information about recent extinctions and the need for increased conservation efforts. Cranium of extinct rodent Pseudomys auritus from Mypolonga. Scale bar = 1 cm. Photograph by D. A. Fusco.

WR16192Testing automated sensor traps for mammal field studies

E. Notz, C. Imholt, D. Reil and J. Jacob
pp. 72-77
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Live trapping studies can require access to captured individuals soon after capture to remove or sample animals. We have trialled an automated sensor system that sends a signal to a receiving device when a small mammal is trapped. In enclosure and field conditions, 100% and 98.7% of sensors recorded captured animals correctly, suggesting that the system is useful for optimising live trapping of small mammals.

WR16086Biodiversity assessment: selecting sampling techniques to access anuran diversity in grassland ecosystems

B. Madalozzo, T. G. Santos, M. B. Santos, C. Both and S. Cechin
pp. 78-91
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Sampling techniques are often suitable to certain environment and particular species, which can result in frequent sampling biases. We present a comparison among commonly used acoustic surveys i.e. visual encounter of adults (ASVE), automated digital recorders (ADR), and tadpole sampling (DSL) techniques to estimate amphibian species richness. ADR and DSL were the most efficient techniques, mainly in terms of species detection. We highlighted that ADR includes species whose males call during short periods, and DSL exclusively detects ‘explosive breeders’, making ASVE unnecessary.

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

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Bird surveys are widely used to estimate diversity – but how do current methods compare with best-practice recommendations? This systematic review of 225 studies over 12 years reveals that most studies ignore detectability and use short-duration, fixed-effort sampling without justification. To increase reliability, both collectors and consumers of bird survey data should consider richness estimates in terms of sample completeness.

Published online 25 May 2017

WR16025Visual lures increase camera-trap detection of the southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii)

Wren R. McLean, Ross L. Goldingay and David A. Westcott
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Cryptic and highly mobile species such as the endangered southern cassowary require the development of specific monitoring methods for conducting population surveys. This study revealed that visual lures used with camera traps increased the number of cassowaries detected, reduced camera latency times and increased data available to identify individuals. This is a practical and cost-efficient technique for the rapid detection of cassowaries at a site and lends itself to studies of population structure, size and trends. Photograph by W. McLean.

Published online 25 May 2017

WR16228Animal detections vary among commonly used camera trap models

Michael M. Driessen, Peter J. Jarman, Shannon Troy and Sophia Callander
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Camera traps are widely used in wildlife surveys but assessing their limitations is important. We compared the efficacy of four camera models to detect mammals and birds and found that detections varied between models and that all camera models failed to detect a substantial proportion of animal visits. Variation in camera performance needs to be taken into consideration when designing or comparing camera surveys, especially if multiple models are used.

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Given that ecological processes are scale-dependent, research on species’ habitat associations can be strengthened if it involves multi-scale approaches. This study aimed to determine the landscape- and site-scale habitat associations of Petrogale lateralis (MacDonnell Ranges race). The findings revealed that all four spatial scales yielded novel information. Furthermore, the results might have conservation implications for this threatened race and could provide a model for other studies of faunal habitat associations.

Published online 10 May 2017

WR16102An evaluation of small-mammal use of constructed wildlife crossings in ski resorts

Mellesa Schroder and Chloe F. Sato
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In ski resorts to facilitate small animal movement across modified ski slopes and under roadways boulder filled and culvert wildlife crossings are constructed to link remnant habitat. This study monitored crossings to determine small mammal use. Regardless of size or type all crossings were used with the broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus) detected more frequently in crossings of greater length. Our results recommend the continued use of boulder-filled crossings in particular wide areas of ski-slope disturbance.

Published online 08 May 2017

WR16172Differences in microhabitat selection patterns between a remnant and constructed landscape following management intervention

Jose W. Valdez, Kaya Klop-Toker, Michelle P. Stockwell, Loren Fardell, Simon Clulow, John Clulow and Michael J. Mahony
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Successful conservation outcomes require understanding how species use their habitat and respond to management interventions. We compared differences in microhabitat use by an endangered amphibian between a reintroduced population in a constructed system and a naturally occurring population. The results indicated that microhabitat use differed between the two sites that will be used to inform future management initiatives and better use of resources. Photograph by Jose W. Valdez.

Published online 01 May 2017

WR16061One Health messaging about bats and rabies: how framing of risks, benefits and attributions can support public health and wildlife conservation goals

Hang Lu, Katherine A. McComas, Danielle E. Buttke, Sungjong Roh, Margaret A. Wild and Daniel J. Decker
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Because of seemingly unavoidable conflicts between public health and conservation goals, this study explored how One Health messaging may motivate intentions to prevent exposure to rabies from bats while promoting bat conservation. We found that mentioning the benefits of bats in a bat-blame message improved beliefs about bats. The findings provide insights for current communication about bats and rabies.

Published online 01 May 2017

WR16165Demographic evaluation of translocating the threatened northern quoll to two Australian islands

Anthony D. Griffiths, Brooke Rankmore, Kym Brennan and John C. Z. Woinarski
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The establishment of a self-sustaining population is a fundamental objective of any translocation. We evaluated the success of translocating the threatened northern quoll to two islands in response to the threat posed by cane toads, with both populations reaching their regulation phase after going through establishment and growth phases. Collecting detailed demographic information is important in the translocation of species. Photograph by Ian Morris.

Published online 27 April 2017

WR16123Contraceptive efficacy of priming and boosting doses of controlled-release PZP in wild horses

Allen Rutberg, Kayla Grams, John W. Turner Jr and Heidi Hopkins

For decades, long-acting fertility control vaccines have been studied as a means to slow the growth of wild horse and burro herds. In this field study, we found that injecting wild horses with a controlled-release porcine zona pellucida contraceptive vaccine extends the effectiveness of a single-booster vaccination to at least three years. Wild horse management will be improved by incorporating booster treatments into planning.

Published online 21 April 2017

WR16184Why didn't the lizard cross the road? Dunes sagebrush lizards exhibit road-avoidance behaviour

Toby J. Hibbitts, Lee A. Fitzgerald, Danielle K. Walkup and Wade A. Ryberg
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Roads are known to have negative impacts on wildlife, from direct mortality due to collisions with vehicles to indirect effects involving road-avoidance behaviours. We found that dunes sagebrush lizard movement patterns were significantly altered by roads and that the lizards rarely crossed the road. This avoidance behaviour indicates that although roads are small physical disturbances to habitat, their impacts on lizard population connectivity can be important.

Published online 19 April 2017

WR16221Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: Macquarie Island rabbit eradication adds to knowledge on both pest control and epidemiology

Brian Cooke, Keith Springer, Lorenzo Capucci and Greg Mutze
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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), which is used to control wild rabbits population in Australasia, is least effective in cooler regions where non-pathogenic calicivirus RCV-A1 also circulates. Nevertheless, RHDV is highly effective on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island where RCV-A1 is apparently absent, ruling out climate as the limiting factor. The use of RHDV reduces risks of seabirds scavenging poisoned rabbits and facilitates pest eradication. Photograph by Keith Springer.

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Habitat loss and degradation has contributed significantly to the decline of many species worldwide. This study used a long-term dataset to better understand the habitat requirements and foraging resources required by a threatened arboreal marsupial, the brush-tailed phascogale. These results will help land managers restore degraded forests to better conserve this species. Photograph by Jerry Alexander.

Published online 13 April 2017

WR16204Development of known-fate survival monitoring techniques for juvenile wild pigs (Sus scrofa)

David A. Keiter, John C. Kilgo, Mark A. Vukovich, Fred L. Cunningham and James C. Beasley
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Knowing rates at which juvenile wild pigs (piglets) survive will inform research and management of this invasive species. We assessed the use of vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) in pregnant wild pigs to locate newborn piglets and evaluated the use of 5 types of transmitters to monitor juvenile survival rates. We found that VITs could be used effectively to locate newborn piglets and that large ear-tag and surgically implanted transmitters could be used to monitor piglet survival.

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In field surveys, knowing occupancy and abundance of wildlife species is often required. Herein, the detection rate of tadpoles in the field was experimentally determined and the results showed that it varied according to survey time and tadpole species and that it negatively correlated to the tadpole density. Real detection rate will allow calculating detection probability and help estimating the occupancy and abundance of the target species. Photograph by N. Iwai.

Published online 20 March 2017

WR16108Spatial patterns of road mortality of medium–large mammals in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Fernando Ascensão, Arnaud L. J. Desbiez, Emília P. Medici and Alex Bager
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Understanding roadkill patterns and their main drivers is crucial to improving safe co-existence between humans and animals. We aimed to assess the influence of land cover in road killings and evaluate the benefits of mitigating hotspot sections only. Casualties occurred mainly in areas with more abundant and diverse communities, supporting that mitigation should target sections crossing areas of higher habitat quality and connectivity. Photo credit: Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, IPÊ.

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Australia’s mammal species have suffered high and ongoing rates of decline and extinction. We report here on three studies from widely separated sites, mostly in conservation reserves, that show continuing marked decline in many mammal species. Although there are some notable differences in the results, there is also some consistency across the studies in the types of mammal species that are declining the most and in the likely causes of decline. Photograph by Marika Maxwell, Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Published online 14 March 2017

WR16143The effect of on-shore light pollution on sea-turtle hatchlings commencing their off-shore swim

Zoe Truscott, David T. Booth and Colin J. Limpus
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The present study examines whether sea turtle hatchlings that have entered the sea can be attracted ashore again by shore-based light pollution, subsequently decreasing sea turtle recruitment. Sea turtle hatchlings were released to the sea and some returned to shore at an adjacent lightly polluted beach. Shore-based light pollution adjacent to sea turtle nesting beaches is a problem because it distracts sea turtle hatchlings while on shore and in the sea on moonless nights. Photograph by N. Holmes.

Published online 03 March 2017

WR16173Assessment of animal welfare for helicopter shooting of feral horses

Jordan O. Hampton, Glenn P. Edwards, Brendan D. Cowled, David M. Forsyth, Timothy H. Hyndman, Andrew L. Perry, Corissa J. Miller, Peter J. Adams and Teresa Collins
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The animal welfare implications of applying helicopter shooting to feral horses are contentious. Observation of feral horse helicopter shooting operations in central Australia allowed animal welfare outcomes to be quantified and the influence of explanatory variables to be examined. Welfare outcomes from helicopter shooting of feral horses were comparable with other species that have been studied and could be improved through management of shooters.

Published online 03 March 2017

WR16156Temporal variations in activity patterns during rut – implications for survey techniques of red deer, Cervus elaphus

Anders Jarnemo, Gunnar Jansson and Johan Månsson
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Intraspecific differences in behaviour can affect censuses and bias estimates. By analysing a long-term dataset collected during 17 red deer ruts, we found that temporal variations in activity patterns among different age and sex categories can lead to divergent results in different survey methods. Both the timing and choice of census methods are fundamental and need to be linked to behavioural variations.

Published online 15 February 2017

WR16171Mooted extinction of koalas at Eden: improving the information base

Vic Jurskis
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Koalas are virtually invisible in forests because they are solitary animals in large home ranges containing thousands of trees. Radiotracking studies at Eden showed that lack of sightings should not necessarily cause concern. However, sightings are rapidly increasing in an area of declining forest where further tracking would improve our understanding of historic irruptions and declines throughout the koala’s range.

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