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Skroblin A.,Australian National University | Murphy S.A.,Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management

The conservation status of many birds in Australia has been deteriorating in response to human activities. Changes to land-management practices are required to halt declines but, in many cases, the causal mechanisms of declines are poorly known and so it is difficult to provide appropriate management directives. Of the 23 Australian species of Maluridae, 12 have infrataxa that meet the criteria for inclusion within an IUCN Red List category. The family possesses characteristics that make it ideal for research relevant to improving conservation outcomes for the Maluridae and other threatened taxa: the family is widely distributed, has been exposed to the varying pressures that operate in diverse habitats across Australia, and infrataxa have broadly similar ecologies and yet disparate conservation listings. Here we describe the conservation status of the taxa within the Maluridae and outline how the family can be used as models to test mechanisms associated with declines and for developing concepts to enhance conservation management. We argue that disparate responses of sympatric malurids to the same land-management regimes can be used to identify characteristics that make species vulnerable to environmental pressures. Quantitative insights into how malurids respond to threatening processes may provide directives for management of a range of threatened species. © BirdLife Australia 2013. Source

Muhic J.,Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management | Abbott E.,Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management | Ward M.J.,Khan Research Laboratories
Ecological Management and Restoration

The Black-footed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges Race), or warru, as it is known by Anangu, the traditional owners of the region, formerly inhabited the rocky hills of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in north-west South Australia. However, introduced carnivores and inappropriate fire regimes have decimated the population, and there are now only 150-200 animals remaining in the wild. This prompted the formation of the Warru Recovery Team (WRT), a collaboration between Traditional Owners, Anangu communities and scientists, who are working together to recover warru populations across the APY Lands. The team are working on the Warru Reintroduction Project, which is combining modern science and the traditional ecological knowledge of Anangu to reintroduce warru back into the APY Lands. Between 2007 and 2009, 22 iti-warru (warru-joeys) were taken to Monarto Zoo (Monarto, South Australia) to initiate the captive population. These zoo-warru have successfully bred in captivity, and in 2011, six founder animals and five captive bred warru were returned to the APY Lands. They are being held in a 97-ha predator-proof warru enclosure that will allow zoo-warru to adjust to the local environment and to learn the survival skills of their ancestors, prior to being released into the wild. Lessons learnt from the release of warru into warru pintji will inform future release situations, as well as management of the in situ warru population, which remains the priority of the WRT. © 2012 Ecological Society of Australia. Source

Ward M.J.,Khan Research Laboratories | Ward M.J.,University of Adelaide | Ruykys L.,University of Adelaide | Van Weenen J.,Khan Research Laboratories | And 4 more authors.
Australian Mammalogy

The population dynamics of warru (Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges race) were studied in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, in order to inform management and better understand the race's conservation ecology. Markrecapture between 2005 and 2010 at the three largest known remaining colonies, followed by POPAN modelling, indicated that population sizes were 23 at New Well and 24 at Alalka in the Musgrave Ranges, and 14 at Kalka in the Tomkinson Ranges. Taking into account recent survey results, the study confirmed that warru are 'Endangered' in South Australia. However, there is potential for the recovery of the race, with high average reproductive rates (in the Musgrave Ranges 90% of reproductively active females had pouch young), even sex ratios and relatively high adult survivorship (75%). Juvenile survival (51%), however, was significantly lower than that of adults. Given that red fox (Vulpes vulpes) numbers are low at these sites, this is possibly due to predation by feral cats (Felis catus), although this needs further investigation. Juvenile survival was also positively correlated with winter rainfall, possibly indicating that access to water is important during the drier winter months. In light of these observations, it is proposed that management of remaining warru colonies focus on cat control and consider providing access to free water during winter, as well as addressing landscape-scale threats such as wildfire and the spread of exotic plants. © 2011 Australian Mammal Society. Source

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