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 43 Number 7 2016

WR16035Artificial water ponds and camera trapping of tortoises, and other vertebrates, in a dry Mediterranean landscape

J.-M. Ballouard, X. Bonnet, C. Gravier, M. Ausanneau and S. Caron
pp. 533-543
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In Mediterranean area, reptiles generally escape observation, posing difficulties to perform inventories. We tested the efficiency of camera trapping with small artificial freshwater ponds to notably attract and detect the endangered Hermann’s tortoise. The low cost–efficiency ratio of this method allows to collect robust data necessary to justify the protection of key habitats that are coveted by property developer. Photograph by Joseph Celse.

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The value of captive breeding for recovery programs of endangered carnivorous mammals is often questioned because of low post-release survival of founder animals following translocation. We show that captive-rearing method did not affect the high survival of Tasmanian devils released onto an offshore island. Captive-breeding programs and captive-raised founders can play a viable and valuable role in recovery programs of endangered carnivorous mammals.

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Control of unwanted wildlife should be undertaken using approaches that minimise animal welfare impacts. We used a scientific framework to rank welfare impacts of poisons on brushtail possums; cyanide had the lowest impacts while cholecalciferol and anticoagulants had the highest. The results of such assessments allow welfare impacts to be integrated with other factors in wildlife management decision-making and policy development.

WR16069AKDEC home range size and habitat selection of Sumatran elephants

Alexander Markus Moßbrucker, Christen H. Fleming, Muhammad Ali Imron, Satyawan Pudyatmoko and Sumardi
pp. 566-575
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Sumatran elephants are critically endangered, but information that could bolster their conservation is scarce. By monitoring several elephants using GPS collars, we found that the animals roam over much larger areas than previously assumed, and that they prefer gentle, forested slopes. To assure the long-term survival of the subspecies habitat restoration and elephant friendly management of forestry concession is required.

WR16027The eastern grey kangaroo: current management and future directions

Kris Descovich, Andrew Tribe, Ian J. McDonald and Clive J. C. Phillips
pp. 576-589
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The eastern grey kangaroo (a common and iconic species in Australia) is harvested and subjected to population management (usually shooting, but also reproductive control, translocation and pellets) for a variety of reasons, including localised over-abundance, livestock competition, crop grazing, native habitat conservation, animal welfare and direct threats to human safety. Support for kangaroo management and harvesting varies depending on the justification for management and is affected by socio-political influences. While several studies have assessed attitudes towards kangaroo management across demographics, a detailed study of the underlying construct of these attitudes is needed if effective methods for the management of kangaroos are to be identified. Future research priorities should focus on the human dimensions of kangaroo management, with specific investigation on socio-political influences, and whether perceptions of kangaroo impact by stakeholders is a reliable and sensitive indicator of actual impacts.

WR16065Creeping into a wild boar stomach to find traces of supplementary feeding

Ježek Miloš, Holá Michaela, Kušta Tomáš and Červený Jaroslav
pp. 590-598
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Supplementary feeding and baiting of wild ungulates is a common management practice and wild boar is among the most frequently fed species. We investigated the diet composition of wild boar from stomach contents and the foods of human origin were the dominant food category and constituted the bulk of diet throughout the year. Wild boar are dependent on supplementary feeding and management need to target on feeding practices and design restrictive measures for supplementary feeding. Photograph by Jaroslav Červený.

WR16153Animal welfare and the use of procedural documents: limitations and refinement

Jordan O. Hampton, Timothy H. Hyndman, Michael Laurence, Andrew L. Perry, Peter Adams and Teresa Collins
pp. 599-603
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Procedural documents have become a popular approach for addressing animal welfare concerns in wildlife management but their use has largely escaped critical examination. Our review highlighted that (i) animal-based measures are not always collected to assess outcomes achieved by using approved procedures, and (ii) the focus on compliance with approved inputs in current animal welfare regulation may preclude the development of improved methods. We suggest refined approaches for the use of procedural documents in wildlife management.

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Feral horse population management requires reliable knowledge of population abundance. Obtaining this information in densely forested habitats is indisputably difficult. This study investigated dung counts, dung decay and defecation rates to assess distribution and to estimate abundance of feral horses in a coniferous plantation in Australia. The methods used were practical and supplied useful information about population trends, providing defecation and decay rates were accurately defined.

Online Early

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

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.

Published online 15 February 2017

WR16127Less fuel for the fire: malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) nesting activity affects fuel loads and fire behaviour

Amy Smith, Sarah C. Avitabile and Steven W. J. Leonard
 

There is growing appreciation of the potential for fauna to affect fire regimes, but these interactions remain poorly understood. This study showed that nest building by malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) reduced litter fuel loads and hence the likelihood and intensity of fires in the area around nests. Malleefowl nesting may contribute to more heterogeneous fire patterns, and therefore affect ecosystem function, in the fire-prone mallee system.

Published online 13 February 2017

WR16058Habitat preference for fire scars by feral cats in Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Hugh W. McGregor, Hannah B. Cliff and John Kanowski
 
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Because feral cats have been found to hunt extensively in intense fire scars in north-western Australia, we aimed to test the generality of this pattern by measuring cat habitat selection in far north-eastern Australia. Feral cats demonstrated strong selection for recent fire scars, open wetlands, yet avoided rainforests. This suggests that impacts of feral cats can be mitigated by managing fire regimes, and targeting control efforts to their preferred habitats. Photograph by Alex Hartshorne.

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Endangered pygmy bluetongue lizards spend most of their lives in spider burrows, and access to suitable burrows are therefore essential to the survival of the species. We found that intensive sheep grazing increases the deterioration of suitable lizard burrows. As almost all known pygmy bluetongue lizard habitats are used for live stock grazing, knowledge about the effect of grazing is essential to the future management of the species.

Published online 13 February 2017

WR15210DiazaCon reduces black-tailed prairie dog reproduction in Colorado

Christi A. Yoder, Richard E. Mauldin, James P. Gionfriddo, Kenneth A. Crane, David A. Goldade and Richard M. Engeman
 
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Prairie dogs can cause extensive damage in urban and suburban environments and management of their populations is controversial, requiring lethal and non-lethal methods. DiazaCon, a cholesterol synthesis inhibitor and contraceptive agent, was given to wild prairie dogs in a bait and reduced reproduction by 95.5%. DiazaCon may be a useful, non-lethal management tool in reducing prairie dog populations.

Published online 12 December 2016

WR16066How to catch red foxes red handed: identifying predation of freshwater turtles and nests

Stuart J. Dawson, Heather M. Crawford, Robert M. Huston, Peter J. Adams and Patricia A. Fleming
 
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Identifying predator species from their scats, footprints or prey remains can be problematic. We used three methods (DNA analysis, camera traps and scat analysis) to identify the predator of adult freshwater turtles and their nests. All three methods confirm that the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) was responsible. Application of these methods will inform effective conservation management strategies.

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