Study

Arid recovery - a comparison of reptile and small mammal populations inside and outside a large rabbit, cat and fox-proof exclosure in arid south Australia

  • Published source details Moseby K.E., Hill B.M. & Read J.L. (2009) Arid recovery - a comparison of reptile and small mammal populations inside and outside a large rabbit, cat and fox-proof exclosure in arid south Australia. Austral Ecology, 34, 156-169.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove/control non-native mammals within a fenced area

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Remove or control predators using fencing and/or aerial nets

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Remove or control invasive or problematic herbivores and seed eaters

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Remove/control non-native mammals within a fenced area

    A site comparison study in 1997–2005 in a dune and shrubland site in South Australia, Australia (Moseby et al. 2009) found that in a fenced area where invasive cats Felis catus, red foxes Vulpes vulpes and European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus were removed, native mammal species richness and abundance, and abundance of two out of four small mammal species, were greater than outside the fenced area. Two to six years after the removal of cats, foxes and rabbits began, native mammal species richness and overall abundance was higher inside than outside the fenced removal area (data presented on log scales). Also, more spinifex hopping mice Notomys alexis and Bolam’s mice Pseudomys bolami were caught in removal areas (spinifex: 13-51; Bolam’s: 5-38) than in non-removal areas (spinifex: 3-4; Bolam’s: 1-2). Numbers caught did not significantly differ in removal vs non-removal areas for fat-tailed dunnart Sminthopsis crassicaudata (0.3 vs 0.8) and stripe-faced dunnart Sminthopsis macroura (0.3-2.8 vs 1.1). Between 1997 and 2005, a 78-km2 exclosure was established in five stages, inside which rabbits, cats and foxes were removed from 1999. Locally extinct mammals were reintroduced into the first area (14-km2) in 1999-2001. Twelve locations inside the exclosure and 12 outside (60-7,000-km apart) were sampled over four nights annually, in 1998–2005, using a line of six pitfall traps and 15 Elliott live traps.

    (Summarised by: Ricardo Rocha)

  2. Remove or control predators using fencing and/or aerial nets

    A controlled study in 1998–2005 in a site of dunes and shrubland in South Australia, Australia (Moseby et al. 2009) found that in a fenced area where invasive cats Felis catus, foxes Vulpes vulpes and European rabbits Oryctolagus cuninculus were removed, reptile abundance and species richness were similar for three years, then in the following five years, abundance was lower compared to outside the fenced area and richness was higher in a fenced area where native mammals had not been reintroduced. During the first three years (1998–2000), reptile abundance and species richness were similar inside and outside the fenced area (native mammals reintroduced to fenced area in 1999). In the following five years (2001–2005), the abundance of reptiles was lower inside an expanded fenced area (one area with and one without native mammals) than outside, and richness was higher in one fenced area (no native mammals) than the other fenced area (with mammals) and outside the fence (data reported as statistical model results). A netting fence was constructed in 1997 and all rabbits, cats and foxes were removed. In 1999, locally extinct small mammals were reintroduced to the fenced area. The fenced area was expanded four times in 1999–2005, and one area received no native small mammals. In 1998, twenty-four trapping sites (12 inside the fence, 12 outside) were established. In 1999, six “outside” sites became “inside” sites as the fenced area expanded, and five new “outside” sites were established. Sites were trapped for four nights (6 pitfall traps, and 10 m drift fence) in April 1998–2000 and February 2001–2005.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

  3. Remove or control invasive or problematic herbivores and seed eaters

    A controlled study in 1998–2005 in a site of dunes and shrubland in South Australia, Australia (Moseby et al. 2009) found that removing invasive European rabbits Oryctolagus cuninculus, cats Felis catus and foxes Vulpes vulpes within a fenced area, in combination with reintroducing native mammals, had mixed effects on reptile abundance and species richness 1–3 year and 4–8 years after fencing and removal began. Data reported on log scale or as statistical model results. During the first three years (1998–2000), reptile abundance and species richness were similar inside and outside the fenced area (native mammals reintroduced to fenced area in 1999). In the following five years (2001–2005), the abundance of reptiles was lower inside an expanded fenced area (one area with and one without native mammals) than outside, and richness was higher in one fenced area (no native mammals) than in both the other fenced area (with mammals) and outside the fence. A netting fence was constructed in 1997 and all rabbits, cats and foxes were removed. In 1999, locally extinct small mammals were reintroduced to the fenced area. The fenced area was expanded four times in 1999–2005, and one area received no native small mammals. In 1998, twenty-four trapping sites (12 inside the fence, 12 outside) were established. In 1999, six “outside” sites became “inside” sites as the fenced area expanded, and five new “outside” sites were established. Sites were trapped for four nights (6 pitfall traps, and 10 m drift fence) in April 1998–2000 and February 2001–2005.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

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