Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

I don’t think we can be friends! Interactions between wallabies and feral goats at Avon Valley National Park; an operational perspective on management. (#90)

Rebecca Kay 1 , Nicole Willers 2 , Rebecca Warner 3 , Robert Huston 1 , Harriet Mills 3
  1. Perth Hills District, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. Swan Region, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Crawley, WA, Australia
  3. Centre for Ecosystem Management, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

Feral goats are a significant threat to native biodiversity in Australia. They are known to overgraze vegetation, cause land degradation, and compete with native species for resources. Goats compete with the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby (BFRW, Petrogale lateralis lateralis) for access to caves and food resources, and have been implicated in population declines. In Avon Valley National Park, 50 kms north-east of Perth, a small population of BFRW’s occur on granite outcrops, whilst western brush wallabies (WBW, Macropus irma) have been recorded across the wider park area. Using remote cameras, we investigated the interactions between feral goats, WBW’s and BFRW’s across the park. We placed 30 Reconyx (HC500) cameras in seven vegetation types throughout the park, and an additional 13 cameras focussed on the rock-wallaby habitat. There was little overlap between WBW’s and goats across different vegetation types in the park,  suggesting disparity in areas utilised by goats compared to WBW’s. Both goats and WBW’s were recorded in wandoo woodlands, but goats’ preferred longer unburnt vegetation, compared to WBW’s that utilised younger vegetation. It is unclear whether these results demonstrate resource partitioning or avoidance. Goats showed a preference for the granite outcrops where the BFRW population occurs. An increase in goat activity over a 3 year period and a mild prescribed burn, preceded a large decline in the number of BFRW’s. The remote camera results were confirmed by targeted trapping. This information is being used to improve goat control measures in the park, including trapping and shooting programs.