In situ training of brushtail possums to use microchip-automated doors

Watson, Shania J. and Hoy, Julia M. and Edwards, Megan C. and Murray, Peter J. ORCID: (2021) In situ training of brushtail possums to use microchip-automated doors. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 45 (3). pp. 390-395. ISSN 0091-7648


Individually targeted resource supplementation for wildlife is difficult to achieve when other non-target, free-living animals can access the resource. The use of microchip-automated technology has the potential to improve conservation outcomes globally. Microchip-automated technology can facilitate targeted food and nesting supplementation, while offering a refuge from predators and competitors. Eight adult wildborn brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were trained in situ to use commercially available microchip-automated doors installed on nest boxes placed within 5 m of their most used nesting site. Training to use the microchip-automated door was conducted in three stages where the position of the door was lowered in sequential stages until it was fully closed at stage 3. Training was deemed complete at each stage when the possum entered the nest box on 2 separate nights. Seven of the 8 possums completed training. Successful training demonstrated that free living possums can be trained to use microchip-automated technology in situ, thus avoiding stress, costs, and biosecurity risks associated with bringing wild animals into captivity for training. Training methods can be extrapolated to a wider range of species to assist with wildlife management from reintroductions to sustaining reduced populations.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2021 01:30
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 06:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: wildlife, microchip-automation, nest boxes, resource supplementation, RFID, training
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
10 Technology > 1099 Other Technology > 109999 Technology not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified
40 ENGINEERING > 4009 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware > 400999 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware 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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