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 3 2017

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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.

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
pp. 194-199
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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.

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
pp. 200-206
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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.

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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.

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There have been few community studies of Australian freshwater turtles. The present study examined the diet and microhabitat use of 5 species of freshwater turtles from the Daly River, Northern Territory. Dietary shift with age was observed for most turtle species, and between species there was differentiation of diet and microhabitat use. The study also showed that in the dry-season, freshwater turtles in a perennial tropical river like the Daly River rely on aquatic vegetation and molluscs. Photograph: Megacephalic Emydura victoriae from the Daly River, by Arthur Georges.

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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.

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

Anthony D. Griffiths, Brooke Rankmore, Kym Brennan and John C. Z. Woinarski
pp. 238-247
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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.

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
pp. 248-258
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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.

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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.

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Providing resources to threatened species could be a useful conservation tool. We examined how the black-footed rock-wallaby used supplementary water points and found that drinking rates were significantly higher during dry winter months but water points did not increase predator activity. Water supplementation may assist arid zone populations to survive droughts, increase population recruitment or increase survival in reintroductions.

Online Early

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

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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.

Published online 25 July 2017

WR17004Public willingness to participate in actions for crow management

Natalija Špur, Boštjan Pokorny and Andrej Šorgo
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Public participation in wildlife management is needed for understanding and reducting human–wildlife conflicts. We investigated which factors affect the public willingness to participate in crow management, and found that the moderator variable education had the highest impact. By educating about skills for participation in crow management and about importance to participate, we can change public attitudes and beliefs, and convince public to help in crow management.

Published online 25 July 2017

WR16219Where do Norway rats live? Movement patterns and habitat selection in livestock farms in Argentina

Daniela P. Montes de Oca, Rosario Lovera and Regino Cavia
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Knowledge about the ecological requirements of Norway rats in livestock farms is necessary to improve management actions on this pest and consequently decrease animal and human health risk. We present a fine-scale description of habitat use and movement patterns of this species. Control effort should be placed near animal and food sheds, water sources, and in sites that provide refuge. Photographs by D. P. Montes de Oca and R. Lovera.

Published online 04 July 2017

WR16133Drivers of change in the relative abundance of dugongs in New Caledonia

C. Cleguer, C. Garrigue, M. M. P. B. Fuentes, Y. Everingham, R. Hagihara, M. Hamann, C. Payri and H. Marsh
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Sound understanding of trends in wildlife populations is required for assessing their status and for effective conservation and management. The aim of this study was to update information on the current size of the isolated dugong population of New Caledonia. While the latest estimates show a stabilisation of the dugong population at the low thousand, the study highlights the importance of replicating baseline surveys to enable robust interpretation of temporal variation in population size estimates.

Published online 28 June 2017

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

Hugh C. Finn and Nahiid S. Stephens
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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.

Published online 26 June 2017

WR16215Investigating brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) home-range size determinants in a New Zealand native forest

K. S. Richardson, C. Rouco, C. Jewell, N. P. French, B. M. Buddle and D. M. Tompkins
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After more than 50 years of studying brushtail possums in Australia and New Zealand, we still do not have a clear understanding of their home-range dynamics. By using a large trapping dataset in the Orongorongo Valley, we found that in addition to density, age and sex are consistent determinants of possum home-range size. This finding suggests that males, owing to their behaviour, may be the primary drivers of TB transmission in possum wild population.

Published online 22 June 2017

WR16194Identifying peaks in bat activity: a new application of SaTScan’s space–time scan statistic

Amanda M. Adams and M. Brock Fenton
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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.

Published online 16 June 2017

WR17028Providing perches for predatory and aggressive birds appears to reduce the negative impact of frugivorous birds in vineyards

Rebecca K. Peisley, Manu E. Saunders and Gary W. Luck
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Bird activity in vineyards can reduce or enhance crop yields. We examined the effectiveness of providing artificial perches to encourage predatory birds into vineyards to scare grape-eating species. Grapevines near perches received >50% less damage than control sites, possibly owing to the presence of Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen). Therefore, perches are a potentially useful approach to reducing damage to grape crops. Photograph by Rebecca K. Peisley.

Published online 07 June 2017

WR16164Identifying key denning habitat to conserve brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Croatia

A. Whiteman, G. Passoni, J. M. Rowcliffe, D. Ugarkovi?, J. Kusak, S. Relji? and D. Huber
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Understanding brown bear denning preferences can be a valuable tool to increase the effectiveness of conservation interventions. Our study found that both environmental and anthropogenic factors predict den habitat suitability in Croatia. The identification of particularly valuable variables can direct management efforts aimed at preserving sensitive habitat.

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Commercial pine plantations in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa are experiencing escalating levels of baboon-caused damage, and no effective control measures have been found to date. The ecological-risk model presented herein indicates that susceptibility to baboon damage is determined by pine stand characteristics and unrelated to the surrounding environment. The present study allows for the quantification of the potential risk posed by baboon damage towards the development of an effective integrated management strategy. Photograph by M. E. Light.

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.

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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