Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board

Kingscote, Australia

Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board

Kingscote, Australia

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Cunningham C.X.,University of Tasmania | Cunningham C.X.,University of Adelaide | Prowse T.A.A.,University of Adelaide | Masters P.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board | Cassey P.,University of Adelaide
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2016

The Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a declared alien pest species on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, where it is implicated in a range of social problems and potential ecological impacts. To inform the management of feral peafowl, we aimed to (1) provide an estimate of peafowl distribution and abundance; (2) measure peafowl home ranges; (3) calculate the area of suitable peafowl habitat; and (4) estimate how the population could change under various culling scenarios. Using expert and landholder surveys, we estimated that ∼380 individuals (range 330-428) were distributed among 21 separate groups on Kangaroo Island. Habitat suitability modelling identified native vegetation near agriculture as the preferred peafowl habitat and indicated that substantial unoccupied suitable habitat is available. The mean home range of eight peafowl was 52ha and one dispersal event of 4.5km demonstrated that unoccupied suitable habitat could feasibly be colonised. Demographic models indicated that, if unmanaged, the peafowl population could exceed 2000 individuals after 10 years, but that culling ∼85 individuals annually could maintain the current population size. We therefore suggest that control of the Kangaroo Island peafowl population is warranted while the current distribution of peafowl is well understood. © CSIRO 2016.


Bengsen A.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board | Bengsen A.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Butler J.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board | Masters P.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board
Wildlife Research | Year: 2011

Context The ability to monitor changes in population abundance is critical to the success of pest animal management and research programs. Feral cats (Felis catus) are an important pest animal, but current monitoring techniques have limited sensitivity or are limited in use to particular circumstances or habitats. Recent advances in camera-trapping methods provide the potential to identify individual feral cats, and to use this information to estimate population abundances using capturemarkrecapture (CMR) methods. Aims Here, we use a manipulative study to test whether camera-trapping and CMR methods can be used to estimate feral cat abundances. Methods We established a grid of infrared cameras and lure stations over three pastoral properties on Kangaroo Island, Australia, for 15 days. We then reduced the population abundance with an intensive trapping program and repeated the camera survey. We estimated population abundances using robust design CMR models, and converted abundance estimates to densities using home-range data from GPS tracking. We also calculated relative abundance indices from the same data. Key results The CMR methods produced credible estimates of the change in population abundance, with useful confidence intervals, showing a statistically identifiable population decline from at least 0.7 cats km-2 before trapping down to 0.4 cats km-2 after trapping. The indexing method also showed a statistically identifiable decrease in abundance. Conclusions Camera-trapping and CMR methods can provide a useful method for monitoring changes in the absolute abundance of feral cat populations. Camera-trap data may also be used to produce indices of relative abundance when the assumptions of CMR models cannot be met. Implications These methods are widely applicable. The ability to reliably estimate feral cat abundances allows for more effective management than is generally available. © CSIRO 2011.


Bengsen A.J.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board | Bengsen A.J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Butler J.A.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board | Masters P.,Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board
Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

Context Effective feral-cat (Felis silvestris catus) management requires a sound understanding of the ways cats use their environment. Key characteristics of landscape use by cats vary widely among different regions and different conditions. Aims The present study aimed to describe the most important characteristics of landscape use by feral cats on a large, human-populated island, and to use this information to guide the development of feral-cat management programs. Methods We used GPS tracking collars to record the movements of 13 feral cats at two sites on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, for between 20 and 106 days. We described home-range extents by using local convex hulls, and derived management suggestions from examination of home-range and movement data. Key results Median feral-cat home range was 5.11km2, and this did not differ between sexes or sites. Cats at a fragmented pastoral site tended to favour woody vegetation over open paddocks, but habitat preferences were less clear at a bushland site. Cats that preferentially used treelines at the pastoral site were almost twice as likely to be recorded close to a tree-line junction as expected. Conclusions Control programs for feral cats on Kangaroo Island should deploy control devices at a density no less than 1.7 devices km-2. Spatial coverage should be as large as practicable or repeated frequently. Infrequent programs covering small areas can be expected only to provide short-term reductions in cat abundance. Implications The information gained from the present study will contribute to the development of strategic sustained management plans for feral cats on Kangaroo Island. The principles from which we inferred management guidelines are applicable to other regions and species. © 2012 CSIRO.

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