Rapid recovery of mammal fauna in the central Kimberley, northern Australia, following the removal of introduced herbivores

  • Published source details Legge S., Kennedy M.S., Lloyd R., Murphy S.A. & Fisher A. (2011) Rapid recovery of mammal fauna in the central Kimberley, northern Australia, following the removal of introduced herbivores. Austral Ecology, 36, 791-799.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use fencing to exclude grazers or other problematic species

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use fencing to exclude grazers or other problematic species

    A controlled, before-and-after study in 2004–2007 in a woodland savannah in north-west Australia (Legge et al. 2011) found that after fencing to exclude introduced herbivores, the overall abundance and species richness of small- and medium-sized native mammals increased. After three years, the average number of mammals and mammal species/ plot was higher in sites from which introduced herbivores were excluded (abundance: 6.1–16.7 animals; species richness: 2.5–3.2 species) than in non-removal sites (abundance: 0.1–3.3 animals; species richness: 0.1–1.4 species). Overall abundance varied with habitat type and abundance increased with years since destocking for four of seven species (see original paper for details). In 2004–2005, a 40,300-ha area of Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary was fenced and cleared of large herbivores. Before 2004, the area had >2,000 cattle Bos taurus and >200 horses Equus ferus caballus and donkeys Equus africanus asinus. In 2007, less than 200 cattle remained. Native mammals were surveyed in twenty 0.25-ha plots in 2004 and in 42–43 plots annually in 2005–2007 (total 49 separate plots, most surveyed 3-4 times). By 2006 and 2007, sixteen plots still contained herbivores, and herbivores had been removed from the other plots (1-3 years previously). Each plot was surveyed using 20 box traps, four medium-sized cage traps and eight pitfall traps, for three consecutive nights each year. Fur was clipped to exclude recaptures.

    (Summarised by: Ricardo Rocha)

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