Do livestock injure and kill koalas? Insights from wildlife hospital and rescue group admissions and an online survey of livestock–koala conflicts

Jiang, Alex and Tribe, Andrew and Phillips, Clive and Murray, Peter John ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1143-1706 (2021) Do livestock injure and kill koalas? Insights from wildlife hospital and rescue group admissions and an online survey of livestock–koala conflicts. Animals, 11 (9):2684. pp. 1-17.

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Abstract

Koala populations in Australia are declining due to threats such as chlamydiosis, wild dog predation and vehicle collision. In the last decade, grazing livestock emerged anecdotally as a threat to koala survival in areas where koala habitat and livestock grazing land overlap. This is the first study investigating the significance of livestock-inflicted injuries and deaths in koala populations over a large spatial and temporal scale. We investigated the outcome, scale, and frequency of livestock–koala incidents via an online survey, and analysed koala admission records in Queensland wildlife hospitals and a wildlife rescue group (Wildlife Victoria) in Victoria. The results provide evidence of both livestock-inflicted injuries and deaths to koalas, especially as these have been confirmed by witness statements. The outcomes for the koala victims of the incidents were severe with a 75% mortality rate. The reported frequency of livestock–koala incidents was low but increasing, with 72 cases (0.14% out of 50,873 admissions) in Queensland wildlife hospitals during 1997–2019, and 59 cases (0.8% of 7017 rescue records) in Wildlife Victoria during 2007–2019. These incidents were likely to be under-reported due to the remoteness of the incident location, possible mis-diagnoses by veterinarians and the possible reluctance of farmers to report them. Future research is encouraged to explore the mechanics and causes of livestock–koala incidents and to develop management strategies to minimise the livestock threat to koalas.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2021 05:26
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2021 05:26
Uncontrolled Keywords: Phascolarctos cinereus; koala; cattle; cows; livestock; trauma; injury; attack; trample; domestic; wildlife conservation
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
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180699 Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092684
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/43654

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