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Port Adelaide, Australia

Morley T.,Adelaide Zoo | Hutchinson M.,South Australian Museum | Hutchinson M.,University of Adelaide | Donnellan S.,South Australian Museum | Donnellan S.,University of Adelaide
Australian Journal of Zoology

Of the three species of taipan, Oxyuranus temporalis is the least known, being described only recently from a single juvenile specimen. We redescribe the species based on additional adult specimens from the Great Victoria Desert. Molecular genetic variation between the three localities from which the species is known was low, suggesting a single widespread population or recent radiation. Limited analysis of faecal material and gut contents suggested solely mammalian prey. The additional specimens suggest the possibility of a considerable distribution across sandy deserts of the central and western interior of Australia. Further studies and fieldwork are required to more accurately determine its geographic range, quantify the toxicity of the venom and assess the suitability of available antivenoms. © 2011 CSIRO. Source

Taggart D.A.,University of Adelaide | Taggart D.A.,Fauna Research Alliance | Schultz D.J.,Adelaide Zoo | Corrigan T.C.,Conservation Research | And 4 more authors.
Australian Journal of Zoology

Captive-bred brush-tailed rock-wallabies (BTRW) were reintroduced into the Grampians National Park, Australia, during 2008-12. Two release strategies (methods) were examined: 'Small release with supplementation' (Strategy 1) and 'Larger release, no supplementation' (Strategy 2). Of the 39 animals released, 18% survived. Thirty-six percent of all mortality occurred within the first 100 days. Under Strategy 1, 22 animals were released in five groups. Twenty deaths occurred across 48 months, with predation estimated to account for 15% of mortalities. Under Strategy 2, 17 individuals were reintroduced across one month. Twelve deaths occurred in the five months following release, with predation estimated to account for 83.4% of mortalities. Of the independent variables tested for their relationship to survival time after release, release strategy was the only significant predictor of survival time after release with the risk of death 3.2 times greater in Strategy 2. Independent variables tested for their relationship to predation risk indicated that release strategy was also the only significant predictor of predation risk, with the risk of death associated with predation 10.5 times greater in Strategy 2. Data suggested that fox predation was the main factor affecting BTRW establishment. Predation risk declined by 75% during the first six months after release. A significant positive relationship was also found between predation risk and colony supplementation events. We conclude that predation risk at Moora Moora Creek is reduced in releases of fewer animals, that it declines across time and that disturbing BTRW colonies through the introduction of new animals can increase predation risk. We recommend that future reintroductions should employ diverse exotic predator control measures at the landscape scale, time releases to periods of lowest predator activity, and limit colony disturbance to maintain group cohesion and social structure. Furthermore, the preferred method of population establishment should be single, small releases over multiple sites without supplementation. Further testing of the reintroduction biology of this species is urgently required. © 2016 CSIRO. Source

Barber C.M.,Monash University | Madaras F.,Venom Science Pty Ltd. | Turnbull R.K.,SA Pathology | Morley T.,Adelaide Zoo | And 5 more authors.

Taipans are highly venomous Australo-Papuan elapids. A new species of taipan, the Western Desert Taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis), has been discovered with two specimens housed in captivity at the Adelaide Zoo. This study is the first investigation of O. temporalis venom and seeks to characterise and compare the neurotoxicity, lethality and biochemical properties of O. temporalis venom with other taipan venoms. Analysis of O. temporalis venom using size-exclusion and reverse-phase HPLC indicated a markedly simplified "profile" compared to other taipan venoms. SDS-PAGE and agarose gel electrophoresis analysis also indicated a relatively simple composition. Murine LD50 studies showed that O. temporalis venom is less lethal than O. microlepidotus venom. Venoms were tested in vitro, using the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation. Based on t90 values, O. temporalis venom is highly neurotoxic abolishing indirect twitches far more rapidly than other taipan venoms. O. temporalis venom also abolished responses to exogenous acetylcholine and carbachol, indicating the presence of postsynaptic neurotoxins. Prior administration of CSL Taipan antivenom (CSL Limited) neutralised the inhibitory effects of all taipan venoms. The results of this study suggest that the venom of the O. temporalis is highly neurotoxic in vitro and may contain procoagulant toxins, making this snake potentially dangerous to humans. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Cox-Witton K.,A+ Network | Reiss A.,Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia | Woods R.,A+ Network | Grillo V.,A+ Network | And 13 more authors.

Emerging infectious diseases are increasingly originating from wildlife. Many of these diseases have significant impacts on human health, domestic animal health, and biodiversity. Surveillance is the key to early detection of emerging diseases. A zoo based wildlife disease surveillance program developed in Australia incorporates disease information from free-ranging wildlife into the existing national wildlife health information system. This program uses a collaborative approach and provides a strong model for a disease surveillance program for free-ranging wildlife that enhances the national capacity for early detection of emerging diseases. © 2014 Cox-Witton et al. Source

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