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

Wildlife Research

Volume 44 Number 2 2017

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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.

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
pp. 97-105
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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
pp. 135-146
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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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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.

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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.

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
pp. 165-173
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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.

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
pp. 174-181

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.

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