Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

‘Quenda-friendly’ gardens; where urban wildlife conservation meets community engagement (#42)

Amanda R Kristancic 1 , Catherine Baudains 1 , Giles E. StJ. Hardy 1 , Patricia A. Fleming 1
  1. Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia

A large proportion of urban green space is residential gardens, which are becoming increasingly important habitat for urban wildlife due to continued clearing of native bushland. Within the City of Mandurah (~70 km south of Perth, Western Australia), the quenda (southern-brown bandicoot, Isoodon obesulus fusciventer) is persisting in the urban environment, despite the potential threats of predation, habitat loss/fragmentation, and vehicle strike. There is anecdotal evidence that quenda frequently visit residential gardens in this area, but it is not known if some characteristics of these gardens are preferred or avoided by quenda. To determine what makes a ‘quenda-friendly’ garden, we surveyed a range of gardens surrounding known quenda habitat. Surveys included gardens that did, and did not, receive visits from quenda, as reported by residents. Remote cameras were used to confirm presence or absence of quenda within each garden. We measured attributes relating to vegetation structure (% canopy cover, % cover of dense vegetation), plant species diversity, presence of pet dogs/cats, size of gardens, and the location of gardens within the urban matrix (e.g. distance to nearest reserve). Identifying specific attributes that encourage the utilisation of residential gardens by quenda can increase the potential habitat and resources available for use by urban quenda. This work will allow the creation of an evidence-based framework that can be used by residents and local government to improve management of urban habitat for wildlife. Encouraging ‘quenda-friendly’ gardens will benefit local wildlife and engage the wider community in the conservation of our native mammals.