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 5 2017

WR17018The invisible harm: land clearing is an issue of animal welfare

Hugh C. Finn and Nahiid S. Stephens
pp. 377-391
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Despite evidence of the harm that land clearing causes to individual animals, such harm is either ignored or considered only indirectly in environmental decision-making. The clearing of native vegetation kills many of the animals present and causes injuries and other conditions that are physically painful and psychologically stressful. Environmental decision-makers should identify and evaluate the harm that proposed clearing actions will cause.

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It is vital to understand what times and places are important to animals, but determining these can be challenging to research and conservation efforts. We show that the SaTScan is effective for quickly identifying peaks in bat activity. SaTScan is a valuable tool for understanding and studying bat activity and has potential for many more uses in ecology.

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One-fifth of mammal species are at risk of extinction in the wild, and more research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas in achieving conservation objectives. Therefore, I evaluated the effectiveness of conservation objectives in the Lar Protected Area (LPA) in northern Iran by documenting the spatial and temporal distribution of seven large- and medium-sized mammals and humans with camera traps and determined the areas and seasons most used by poachers that will definitely be useful for improving the conservation of focal species in the LPA. Photograph by Jamshid Parchizadeh.

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Identifying high-quality Gunnison sage-grouse habitat is critical to successful conservation and recovery of this threatened species. We identified seasonal habitat preferred by Gunnison sage-grouse and found our more refined models more accurately reflected reality than the critical habitat designation currently being used for species recovery. Using a hierarchical approach to identify critical habitat with higher quality data when available may provide a better alternative to generalizations for threatened and endangered species.

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Stoats are a serious conservation pest in New Zealand, but current monitoring methods are often not sensitive enough to detect them. We compared the effectiveness of the established footprint-tracking tunnel method with two alternative methods, camera traps and artificial nests and found that both were more efficient at detecting stoats in alpine habitat during spring, when they are known to be difficult to detect. Our study demonstrates the importance of calibration among different monitoring methods, particularly when the target species is difficult to detect.

WR16203Home range, den selection and habitat use of Carolina northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus)

Corinne A. Diggins, Alexander Silvis, Christine A. Kelly and W. Mark Ford
pp. 427-437
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The Carolina northern flying squirrel is an endangered subspecies that occurs in the southern Appalachian Mountains. To better conserve and manage this species, we conducted a study using radio-telemetry to determine habitat selection across the range of this species. We found Carolina northern flying squirrels preferentially select high-elevation spruce-fir forests over northern hardwood forests.

WR17016Translocating ratsnakes: does enrichment offset negative effects of time in captivity?

Brett A. DeGregorio, Jinelle H. Sperry, Tracey D. Tuberville and Patrick J. Weatherhead
pp. 438-448
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We investigated the behaviour and survival of translocated ratsnakes. Even if snakes were held captive in complex, naturalistic enclosures (environmental enrichment) before release, the longer they had been in captivity, the less likely they were to survive. Our results suggest that translocation programs should minimize the amount of time animals are in captivity before release when possible.

Online Early

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

Published online 13 December 2017

WR17012Elliott traps found to be ineffective for the survey of swamp skink (Lissolepis coventryi): a cautionary tale of outdated survey guidelines

Jacinta E. Humphrey, Kylie A. Robert and Steve W. J. Leonard
 
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Robust and efficient survey methods are essential for the conservation of cryptic and threatened species. This study aimed to review the current recommended survey guidelines for the swamp skink (Lissolepis coventryi). Our findings emphasise the importance of such a review and suggest alternative detection methods for future monitoring.

Published online 12 December 2017

WR16163A review of climatic change as a determinant of the viability of koala populations

Hailee J. Reckless, Michael Murray and Mathew S. Crowther
 
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In many areas of Australia, koalas are under threat from a loss of habitat and disease. Climate change will exacerbate these processes, as well as affect the quality of remaining habitat. Modelling the effects of climate change on koalas will help guide conservation strategies for long-term survival of the species.

Published online 12 December 2017

WR17055Variation in Major Histocompatibility Complex diversity in invasive cane toad populations

Mette Lillie, Sylvain Dubey, Richard Shine and Katherine Belov
 
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Since their introduction into Australia, cane toads have spread to over 1 million square kilometres, causing significant disturbance to native ecosystems. The Australian invasion has also had a toll on the cane toads themselves, and we show that cane toads introduced into Australia have very little immune gene diversity. This chink in the cane toad armour could represent low immune health within the population and could be exploited for control management.

Published online 12 December 2017

WR17032Ecological history of the koala and implications for management

Vic Jurskis
 
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Explorers didn’t see koalas when forests were managed by Aborigines using firesticks. Disruption of burning created thick forests of sick trees with nutritious and palatable foliage, feeding irruptions of koalas, followed by declines as trees were cleared by settlers or died during the Federation Drought. Sustainable populations should be reinstated using traditional knowledge underpinned by modern ecological and forestry science.

Published online 12 December 2017

WR17006Human–carnivore competition for antlered ungulates: do pumas select for bulls and bucks?

L. Mark Elbroch, Jennifer Feltner and Howard Quigley
 
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We tested mythology that presents pumas as competitors for antlered elk and deer prized by the hunting community, in the Rocky Mountains, USA. We found that pumas killed few antlered ungulates, avoided antlered elk, and only slightly selected for antlered deer. Our results highlight that killing large carnivores over competition for antlered ungulates is unfounded.

Published online 11 December 2017

WR16198Assisted colonisation trial of the eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) to a fox-free island

Rebecca Groenewegen, Dan Harley, Richard Hill and Graeme Coulson
 
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Conservation of threatened species will increasingly rely on innovative strategies and research. This trial assisted colonisation of the eastern barred bandicoot showed this technique could allow the establishment of a self-sustaining population of this endangered species. Pursuing novel management and research avenues is necessary to safeguard vulnerable species and ecosystems.

Published online 05 December 2017

WR16160Living on the edge: characteristics of human–wildlife conflict in a traditional livestock community in Botswana

J. Weldon McNutt, Andrew B. Stein, Lesley Boggs McNutt and Neil R. Jordan
 
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Lethal control of predators related to livestock depredation is a major driver of declines in large predator populations globally. We investigated the perceptions and actions of a livestock farming community in Botswana, and found that lethal control was commonly used, especially in households previously denied compensation for losses, but that its use was unrelated to past livestock losses to predation and the benefits the household derived directly from wildlife. We suggest that efforts must be made to connect the financial costs incurred by farming alongside wildlife with the financial benefits derived from their presence and that greater efforts must be made to ensure timely compensation payments.

Published online 05 December 2017

WR16185Can owls be used to monitor the impacts of urbanisation? A cautionary tale of variable detection

Raylene Cooke, Hannah Grant, Isabel Ebsworth, Anthony R. Rendall, Bronwyn Isaac and John G. White
 
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Owls have great potential as surrogates to monitor how systems change through time however our understanding of survey approaches is limited. This research assesses our capacity to detect three Australian owl species and demonstrates that species, season and temperature impact on survey success. We suggest that owls can be used to assess change in systems through time but survey approaches need to be tailored and adapted for each individual target species.

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Subadult rabbits in a population that had been heavily suppressed by rabbit haemorrhagic disease used an average of four warrens each in an overlapping, irregular array. This type of movement among warrens could play a critical role in disease transmission. It may be particularly important during periods of low population density when other density-dependent modes of transmission are suppressed.

Published online 17 November 2017

WR16232Alpine landscape and canopy cover from 1973 to 2011: are roe and red deer population dynamics linked?

Roberta Chirichella, Andrea Mustoni and Marco Apollonio
 
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Land-use change may represent a major driver for wildlife population trends in most ecosystems. In Central Eastern Alps (Italy), the increase in canopy cover and a general landscape simplification during 1973–2011 period facilitated red deer range expansion and density increase. Land use change and red deer growth rate impacted on roe deer population dynamics. These results may help managers to apply an effective adaptive-management planning technique for target locations to keep the ecosystem balanced.

Published online 16 November 2017

WR17017The efficacy of monitoring techniques for detecting small mammals and reptiles in arid environments

J. Molyneux, C. R. Pavey, A. I. James and S. M. Carthew
 
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The ability of ecologists to measure species diversity and abundance levels is greatly dependent on selecting the most optimal survey technique. We compared the efficacy of three popular monitoring techniques used in the spinifex sand-plain habitat in Central Australia. Our results provide a clear analysis of the benefits and cost of each technique and offers recommendations for ecologist conducting surveys within arid environment.Introduction

Published online 16 November 2017

WR17064An inexpensive satellite-download GPS receiver for wildlife: field trial on black swans

Rebecca M. Lehrke, Lizzie McGregor, John Dyer, Margaret C. Stanley and Todd E. Dennis
 
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Information regarding the movement patterns of wildlife is crucial for development of appropriate management actions. We conducted a field test of SPOT Trace GPS receivers on feral black swans near Auckland Airport and found that the units provided a highly effective means of describing the birds’ locations in relation to the potential for aircraft strike. Such knowledge can help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

Published online 31 October 2017

WR17063Temporal variation in the population characteristics of harvested wolverine (Gulo gulo) in northwestern Canada

Piia M. Kukka, Thomas S. Jung, Jean-François Robitaille and Fiona K. A. Schmiegelow
 
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Understanding the vulnerability and variability of different sex and age cohorts to harvest may have implications to harvest sustainability of wolverine. We examined the temporal variability of wolverine sex and age composition, and evaluated the impact of the harvest season length on breeding wolverines. Late winter harvest likely has a more significant impact on wolverine populations than early winter harvest, because of increased harvest of adults and breeding females.

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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