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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: Sarah Legge, Phil Stephens and Aaron Wirsing

Publishing Model: Hybrid. Open Access options available.

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These articles are the latest published in the journal. Wildlife Research has moved to a continuous publication model. More information is available on our Continuous Publication page.

Published online 16 February 2024

WR23062Applications of chemical bird repellents for crop and resource protection: a review and synthesis

Shelagh T. DeLiberto and Scott J. Werner 0000-0002-3483-7402

Photograph of a mature sunflower crop with birds perched on flowers.

Non-lethal repellents are needed to protect agricultural crops and valued resources from damages caused by some wild birds worldwide. We systematically searched scientific publications, patents and product registrations to develop a current review and synthesis regarding chemical bird repellents for wildlife researchers, ecologists, managers and conservationists. We then developed a comparative ‘index of success’ associated with each tested bird repellent for the future research and development of chemical bird repellents. Photograph by Dr. Scott Werner (USDA National Wildlife Research Center)..

Published online 13 February 2024

WR23041Seasonal nest use of sympatric North American flying squirrels

Rosemary Minns, Rebekah Persad 0009-0002-0567-6918, Laurelie Menelon, Sasha L. Newar, Paul P. O’Brien, Samantha M. Stead and Jeff Bowman 0000-0002-1892-4469

Photograph of a northern flying squirrel in a tree cavity.

In North America, climate change and habitat loss are leading to increased interspecific contact between northern and southern flying squirrels. Both species use tree cavities for denning, and we assessed the seasonal selection of these nest trees by the two flying squirrel species at a site where they both occur. We found that both species used larger trees in winter than in summer, and that southern flying squirrels used larger trees than did northern flying squirrels. Photo by Jacob Bowman.

Photograph showing Leadbeater’s possum. A small species of arboreal marsupial endemic to south-eastern Australia.

Ten years of arboreal camera trapping for the cryptic and critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum has enabled surveys with higher reliability and at a greater spatial scale than previously possible, clarifying range limits and greatly increasing our knowledge of occupancy patterns in forests impacted by logging and bushfire. An important caveat is that detection/non-detection data from camera trapping may be insensitive at detecting population declines for communally denning species for whom abundance fluctuates more than occupancy. Photograph by Dan Harley.

Published online 05 February 2024

WR23124Diet of fallow deer suggests potential for invasion of novel habitats in Tasmania

Thomas R. Guy 0000-0001-5751-5046, Jamie B. Kirkpatrick, Calum X. Cunningham, Tina E. Berry 0000-0002-7203-2437, Kathryn L. Dawkins 0000-0001-5092-2378, Michael M. Driessen and Chris N. Johnson

Photograph of a grassy woodland area in Tasmania with blue sky and clouds in background.

Fallow deer in Tasmania exhibit remarkable dietary adaptability, a critical factor in their expanding range. This study compared their diets in established grassy woodlands and newer highland habitats, revealing a broad dietary niche. These findings underscore the urgency of robust management strategies to curb further range expansion and mitigate potential impacts on areas with high conservation values. Photograph by Thomas Guy.

Published online 19 January 2024

WR23095Environmental DNA detection of spot-tailed quoll from soil is unlikely to be useful for routine monitoring

Lauren C. White 0000-0001-8085-9293, Jenny L. Nelson, Maria Cardoso and Carlo Pacioni 0000-0001-5115-4120

Photograph of a spot-tailed quoll standing on woody debris.

The spot-tailed quoll is difficult to detect owing to its rarity, remote habitat and large home ranges. In this study, environmental DNA (eDNA) soil analysis was evaluated as an alternative to traditional monitoring methods for spot-tailed quoll detection. We designed an eDNA assay that showed high sensitivity at quoll latrine sites but performed poorly in non-latrine habitat due to low concentrations of quoll DNA in soil samples. We thus conclude that eDNA analysis of soil is unlikely to improve current monitoring methods for this species. Photograph by Jemma Cripps (ARI).

Published online 11 January 2024

WR23058Immobilisation efficacy of conducted electrical weapons on captive white-tailed deer

Patrick J. Grunwald, Mark G. Ruder, David A. Osborn, Lisa I. Muller, Kaitlin O. Goode and Gino J. D’Angelo 0000-0001-7440-4794

White-tailed deer in a barn stall, under red light, with two laser indicators of estimated probe placement on its flank.

Conducted electrical weapons, commonly referred to as TASERs®, are used on wildlife without species-specific knowledge about overall efficacy or animal welfare impacts. Our study was designed to estimate physiological effects of short-term exposure to a conducted electrical weapon on white-tailed deer. Our data suggest conducted electrical weapons can be used safely on white-tailed deer for short-term immobilisation in place of other immobilisation techniques and to create a safer atmosphere for humane killing by gunshot. Photo courtesy of Emma Kring and used with permission.

Published online 11 January 2024

WR22112Prevalence of pathogens important to human and companion animal health in an urban unowned cat population

Tamar Michaelian, Lana Harriott 0000-0002-9058-5668, Matthew Gentle, Tatiana Proboste, Ian Kei Ho and Rowland Cobbold

Image from camera trap at night of unowned cat looking directly to camera.

Unowned cats are common in urban regions, and it is possible they carry pathogens with significant implications for public health and/or domestic cat populations. We aimed to establish baseline prevalence data for key pathogens and found that gastrointestinal parasites are common (76.8% prevalence), Toxoplasma gondii prevalence was 7% and Feline Influenza Virus prevalence was 12%. These results show that unowned cats do carry pathogens of human and companion animal concern. This knowledge is essential to inform both unowned and owned cat management in urban regions. Image by Lana Harriott, Biosecurity Queensland..

Published online 05 January 2024

WR23076High survivorship and rapid population growth of the greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) reintroduced to a feral predator exclosure

Cassandra M. Arkinstall 0000-0002-0078-0137, Sean I. FitzGibbon 0000-0002-2709-5738, Kevin J. Bradley, Katherine E. Moseby 0000-0003-0691-1625 and Peter J. Murray 0000-0003-1143-1706

Photograph of greater bilby being released from a bag at night.

The greater bilby has been successfully reintroduced to several exclosures and offshore islands free of feral predators, but there are few published studies examining the establishment of these critical subpopulations. In this 3-year study, we monitored the reintroduction of bilbies to such an exclosure. We demonstrate that bilbies are a model species for reintroductions to feral predator exclosures, due to their highly adaptable nature and capability for rapid population growth. Photograph by Neil Bloem.

Published online 05 January 2024

WR23142Foreword to the Special Issue on ‘Fertility control for wildlife in the 21st century’

Cheryl S. Asa, Stephanie L. Boyles Griffin, Douglas Eckery, Lyn A. Hinds 0000-0002-4125-2357 and Giovanna Massei 0000-0001-9467-2446

Public interest in fertility control to manage economic and environmental impacts of wildlife is increasing. This special issue of Wildlife Research presents studies showcasing fertility control applications for a wide range of species. These studies also illustrate new methods to deliver contraceptives, models on the impact of fertility control on populations, feasibility, cost of fertility control, and discussions on the human dimension of this approach.

This article belongs to the Collection Fertility Control for Wildlife in the 21st Century.

Published online 05 January 2024

WR23035Influence of wildfire and feral horse use on mule deer summer range occupancy

Ryan C. Platte 0009-0004-2335-5629 and Ryan E. Torland

Photograph of a mule deer walking on grass, with a sparse woodland in the background.

Understanding how a species uses the landscape is an important factor for the management of any species. This study aimed to assess mule deer summer range distribution in relation to competition from feral horses and occurrence of wildfire. Our results showed that mule deer had lower occupancy at sites with increased feral horse use and higher occupancy at sites that were within a previous wildfire perimeter. These findings suggest that increased management of feral horse populations and the inclusion of fire into forest restoration projects could benefit mule deer populations. Photograph by Ryan Platte.

Published online 19 December 2023

WR23043The impact of wild boars on the temporal resource utilisation of silver pheasants in South China

Wei Liu 0000-0003-3802-4676, Xinhang Song, Ruge Wang, Lingying Shuai, Shuping Xiao and Yanzhen Bu 0009-0008-4013-3437

Photographs of a wild boar in scrubland, and a male and female silver pheasant perched on a rock in a stream.

Increased populations of wild boar (Sus scrofa) have raised concern regarding the impacts of this species on ecosystems and biodiversity. This study aimed to assess the effects of the wild boar on the temporal resource utilisation of the silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), and showed that wild boars significantly impact the temporal resource utilisation of silver pheasants. This study provides useful information for understanding the relationship between wildlife and wild boar. Photograph by Shuping Xiao.

Published online 19 December 2023

WR23075Raccoon abundance indexing and removal: implications for Blanding’s turtle nest success

Andrew U. Rutter, John P. Vanek, Gary A. Glowacki, Callie K. Golba, Richard B. King 0000-0002-1466-0232, Craig K. Pullins and Wesley E. Smith

Topography of the study area in a coastal wetland complex along Lake Michigan.

Information on the abundance of nest predators and the effect their removal has on nest success is needed for endangered-turtle recovery. We found that removal was effective in reducing raccoon abundance; however, impacts on Blanding’s turtle nest success were obscured by differences in nesting habitat between removal and control sites. Removal can most benefit endangered species if it occurs in areas of greatest predator impact. Raccoon image by Margot Michaud, map by Yang et al. (2018).

Published online 19 December 2023

WR22175Fighting the flames: site-specific effects determine species richness of Australian frogs after fire

Brittany A. Mitchell 0000-0002-9214-2625, Simon B. Z. Gorta 0000-0002-7753-556X, Corey T. Callaghan 0000-0003-0415-2709, Richard T. Kingsford 0000-0001-6565-4134 and Jodi J. L. Rowley 0000-0002-2011-9143

Photo of a tree frog resting on a burned log after the 2019/2020 megafires.

Through citizen-science and remotely sensed data, we found no overall decrease in species richness of frogs after the 2019/2020 megafires, or with increased fire severity. Our results instead provide evidence that species richness and its response to fire is site-specific, and we explore possible explanations for this, while emphasising the need to monitor threatened and less-common frog species. Photograph by Jodi Rowley.

Published online 04 December 2023

WR23027Environmental DNA as a detection tool for small-bodied, cryptic, threatened fish in a highly turbid freshwater lake system

D. J. Stoessel 0000-0002-2140-7390, T. A. Raadik, M. Adams, J. J. Shelley, T. J. Hately, D. Iervasi, P. Rose, A. Russell and N. Murphy

Photo of a small, iridescent Southern Purple-spotted Gudgeon fish held in two hands within a net.

Comparatively few resources are devoted to the detection of rare small-bodied cryptic fish species. The extent of decline of many of these species is therefore often unknown. We found significant clustering of eDNA of such a species towards the outlets of lakes, suggesting that sampling for detection (presence/absence) in such environments should be undertaken at outlet channels to minimise cost and maximise opportunities to detect rare aquatic species. Photograph by Doug Gimesy, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

Published online 30 October 2023

WR22132Estimating roadkill rates while accounting for carcass detection and persistence using open-population capture–recapture models

Talita Menger 0000-0003-1481-3670, Andreas Kindel 0000-0002-6358-1450 and Ismael Verrastro Brack 0000-0003-2988-9811


An accurate wildlife roadkill rate is essential to effectively plan and monitor roadkill mitigation. We applied an open-population model (widely used to estimate living animal population dynamics) to a roadkill estimation context that allowed us to account for observation error. The approach can be used to guide roadkill mitigation efforts by understanding variation among sampling designs, species, and spatiotemporal variation in roadkill rates. Photograph by Talita Menger.

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