Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Beyond the fence: Are we any closer to re-establishing Australia's threatened mammals in open landscapes? (#241)

Katherine E Moseby 1
  1. University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Australia has an unenviable record of recent extinctions due to the post-European impacts of habitat clearance, introduction of feral cats and foxes and grazing by exotic herbivores. Many of our native mammals now survive only on offshore islands or in fenced mainland sanctuaries. Efforts to re-establish these species in open landscapes on Australia’s mainland usually fail, most often due to predation by introduced cats and foxes. Despite a litany of failed re-introductions, some progress is being made towards re-establishing threatened species outside of islands and fenced reserves. We now understand more about the sensitivity of each native species to introduced predators and which species make suitable candidates for reintroduction trials. A significant body of re-introduction research has been conducted which has improved our knowledge of the timing, causes and patterns of post-release predation. Many similarities have emerged including rogue predators, poor habitat quality and prey naivety. Most significantly, this research has led to the development of a range of new tools and technologies to address these issues and the impacts of cats and foxes. Whilst most of these tools are still under development or field testing, initial results are encouraging and suggest that future re-introductions are likely to have a greater chance of success. Examples will be presented including baiting, grooming traps, in situ predator training and toxic implants as well as positive reintroduction outcomes from recent releases outside of fenced reserves.