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Kimba, Australia

Read J.,Ecological Horizons | Read J.,University of Adelaide | Gigliotti F.,General Dogs Body | Darby S.,General Dogs Body | Lapidge S.,University of Canberra
International Journal of Pest Management | Year: 2014

Predation by feral cats (Felis catus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are key threatening processes for many endangered wildlife species. Toxin delivery through compulsive oral grooming is a potential mechanism to supplement existing control techniques for feral cats and red foxes, particularly when high prey densities reduce the uptake of toxic food baits by cats. We investigated the efficacy of different grooming traps by applying a gel containing toxic para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) to the fur of feral cats and red foxes in experimental pens. Grooming behaviour and signs of poisoning in these animals were recorded by video. More cats interacted with “walk past” grooming traps triggered by sensor beams than with trap models that required the cat to enter a pipe or baited cage. After triggering a trap that had applied PAPP gel to their fur, 14 of 16 feral cats showed symptoms of anoxia, and 8 of these cats were dead by the following morning without exhibiting signs of distress. Seven of 12 foxes were observed to groom fur to which toxic gel had been applied and 3 of these ingested a lethal quantity of PAPP as a result. Our successful proof-of-concept trials support further development of grooming trap sensors and toxin delivery mechanisms to provide humane and targeted feral cat control, although this technique is unlikely to be as successful for fox control, given that foxes appear to not groom as fastidiously as cats. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Source


West R.,University of New South Wales | West R.,University of Adelaide | Read J.L.,Ecological Horizons | Ward M.J.,Water and Natural Resources | And 2 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2016

Reintroduction practitioners must often make critical decisions about reintroduction protocols despite having little understanding of the reintroduction biology of the focal species. To enhance the available knowledge on the reintroduction biology of the warru, or black-footed rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges race, we conducted a trial reintroduction of 16 captive individuals into a fenced predator and competitor exclosure on the An̲angu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia. We conducted seven trapping sessions and used radio-tracking and camera traps to monitor survival, reproduction and recruitment to the population over 36 months. Blood samples were collected pre-release and during two trapping sessions post-release to assess nutritional health. The survival rate of founders was 63%, with all losses occurring within 10 weeks of release. Post-release blood biochemistry indicated that surviving warru adapted to their new environment and food sources. Female warru conceived within 6 months of release; 28 births were recorded during the study period and 52% of births successfully recruited to the population. Our results suggest that captive-bred warru are capable of establishing and persisting in the absence of introduced predators. However, the high mortality rate immediately post-release, with only a modest recruitment rate, suggests that future releases into areas where predators and competitors are present should use a trial approach to determine the viability of reintroduction. We recommend that future releases of warru into unfenced areas include an intensive monitoring period in the first 3 months post-release followed by a comprehensive long-term monitoring schedule to facilitate effective adaptive management. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2016 Source


Read J.L.,Ecological Horizons | Read J.L.,University of Adelaide | Ward M.J.,Water and Natural Resources | Moseby K.E.,Ecological Horizons | Moseby K.E.,University of Adelaide
Australian Mammalogy | Year: 2015

Optimised detection and sensitivity of fauna-monitoring programs is essential for the adaptive management of threatened species. We describe the influence of trap type, trapping duration and timing on the detection rates of small vertebrates, in particular the nationally endangered sandhill dunnart (Sminthopsis psammophila) in its two primary populations in South Australia. A total of 118 and 155 sandhill dunnarts were captured from the Middleback and Yellabinna regions, respectively, from five trapping sessions between 2008 and 2012. Wide deep pitfall traps (225mm diameter×600-700mm deep) captured significantly more adult sandhill dunnarts than shorter, narrower pitfalls (150mm diameter×500mm deep) or Elliott traps. Deep pitfall traps also captured significantly more hopping mice (Notomys mitchellii) but smaller mammal species were equally trapable in deep or short pitfall traps. Capture rates declined through successive nights of trapping. Capture rates of sandhill dunnarts were greatest in one study region when the moon illumination was less than 40% compared with fuller moon phases but were not affected by moon illumination in the other study region. The results suggest that higher capture rates of sandhill dunnarts will be achieved when using wide, deep pitfall traps on dark nights during the first two nights of trapping. Trapping in summer detected more juvenile sandhill dunnarts than trapping in winter. © Australian Mammal Society 2015. Source


Read J.L.,Ecological Horizons | Read J.L.,University of Adelaide | Bengsen A.J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Meek P.D.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | And 2 more authors.
Wildlife Research | Year: 2015

Context Automatically activated cameras (camera traps) and automated poison-delivery devices are increasingly being used to monitor and manage predators such as felids and canids. Maximising visitation rates to sentry positions enhances the efficacy of feral-predator management, especially for feral cats, which are typically less attracted to food-based lures than canids. Aims The influence of camera-trap placement and lures were investigated to determine optimal monitoring and control strategies for feral cats and other predators in two regions of semi-arid South Australia. Methods We compared autumn and winter capture rates, activity patterns and behaviours of cats, foxes and dingoes at different landscape elements and with different lures in three independent 6km×3km grids of 18 camera-trap sites. Key results Neither visual, olfactory or audio lures increased recorded visitation rates by any predators, although an audio and a scent-based lure both elicited behavioural responses in predators. Cameras set on roads yielded an eight times greater capture rate for dingoes than did off-road cameras. Roads and resource points also yielded highest captures of cats and foxes. All predators were less nocturnal in winter than in autumn and fox detections at the Immarna site peaked in months when dingo and cat activity were lowest. Conclusions Monitoring and management programs for cats and other predators in arid Australia should focus on roads and resource points where predator activity is highest. Olfactory and auditory lures can elicit behavioural responses that render cats more susceptible to passive monitoring and control techniques. Dingo activity appeared to be inversely related to fox but not cat activity during our monitoring period. Implications Optimised management of feral cats in the Australian arid zone would benefit from site- and season-specific lure trials. Source

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