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

Reintroduction of the greater bilby, Macrotis lagotis (Reid) (Marsupialia : Thylacomyidae), to northern South Australia: survival, ecology and notes on reintroduction protocols

K. E. Moseby and E. O'Donnell

Wildlife Research 30(1) 15 - 27
Published: 17 April 2003


Nine bilbies were reintroduced to a 14-km2 reserve free of rabbits, cats and foxes in South Australia in April 2000. The survival, growth and ecology of the population were studied for 17 months after release by means of radio-tracking and trapping. Reproduction was continuous over the study period, with juveniles successfully recruited into the population. Home-range size of female bilbies averaged 0.18 km2 and was significantly smaller than home ranges of males, which averaged 3.16 km2. Wild-born subadults had smaller home ranges than adults. While male home ranges, and male and female home ranges overlapped considerably, females appeared to maintain areas discrete from other adult females. Bilbies showed a significant preference for dune habitat. As swale habitat appears too hard for burrow construction and males moved greater distances from diurnal burrows than females, males are likely to access food reserves that are under-used by females. Both males and females reused at least 30% of their burrows, and females displayed long-term site fidelity. The release was considered successful and suggests that despite historical damage from rabbits and stock, bilbies are able to successfully recolonise parts of their former range in arid South Australia once rabbits, cats and foxes are removed.


© CSIRO 2003

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