Habitat use by yellow-footed rock-wallabies in predator exclusion fences

Smith, Deane and Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1533-0163 (2021) Habitat use by yellow-footed rock-wallabies in predator exclusion fences. Journal of Arid Environments, 184:104329. pp. 1-8. ISSN 0140-1963


Abstract

Predator density changes can alter behaviours of prey, and removal of predators is expected to free prey from predation risks. Due to pest management activities within predator exclusion fences in central-western Queensland, Australia, dingoes (Canis familiaris) have been actively controlled in places also inhabited by endangered yellow-footed rock-wallabies (YFRW, Petrogale xanthopus). These pest management practices are expected to enable YFRW to utilise otherwise riskier habitats, though the occurrence of these processes remain unclear. Here, we assessed the responses of YFRW habitat use to pest species management in exclusion fences. In congruence with previous work, we find the likelihood of YFRW presence is positively correlated with increasing habitat complexity (r = 0.39). Greater coverage of ground and shrub vegetation also correlated positively with YFRW presence (p < 0.05). However, we found no difference in YFRW habitat selection inside and outside exclusion fences, which was considered to be an artefact of populations of predators still surviving inside the fence, along with insufficient elapsed time to adequately assess behavioural responses by YFRW since the construction of the fence. These results support the view that even small numbers of predators can have a limiting effect on threatened prey and/or that researchers must allow sufficient time to observe prey responses to changes in predation risk.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2021 00:35
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2021 00:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cluster fence; Exclusion fence; Macropod; Predation risk; Threatened species; Wild dog
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2020.104329
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/40499

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