Bandicoot bunkers: training wild-caught northern brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus) to use microchip-automated safe refuge

Edwards, M. C. and Hoy, J. M. and FitzGibbon, S. I. and Murray, P. J. ORCID: (2020) Bandicoot bunkers: training wild-caught northern brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus) to use microchip-automated safe refuge. Wildlife Research, 47 (3). pp. 239-243. ISSN 1035-3712


Soft-release involving supplementary feeding or shelter is commonly used in wildlife reintroduction and rehabilitation projects. However, competition for nestboxes and supplementary feed, as well as predation at feed stations or nestboxes, can reduce the benefits of soft-release. The use of microchip-automated technology can potentially alleviate these concerns, by providing targeted supplementation to only the intended, microchipped animals.

We aimed to train wild-caught northern brown bandicoots, Isoodon macrourus, to use microchip-automated doors to access safe refuge.

Bandicoots were trapped from the wild and brought to the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, where eight were trained to use the doors in a six-stage process, and then six were trained in a three-stage process, using a peanut butter reward.

Key results
Bandicoots learned to use the doors in as few as 3 days. The duration of visits to the door generally increased during training, although the number of visits decreased.

The bandicoots successfully learned to use the microchip-automated doors, which shows that this technology has great potential with wildlife, particularly given the short training times required.

The use of these microchip-automated doors with wildlife has many potential applications, including supplementary feeding stations, nestboxes, monitoring in the wild, as well as enrichment for wild animals in captivity.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 02:53
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2021 22:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: behaviour, captive management, wildlife management
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour
06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology
10 Technology > 1099 Other Technology > 109999 Technology not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180699 Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
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