Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Utilising community wisdom to determine the magnitude and causes of regional declines in the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) in south east Queensland. (#702)

Elizabeth A Brunton 1 , Sanjeev K Srivastava 1 , David S Schoeman 1 , Scott Burnett 1
  1. University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia

South east Queensland (SEQ) has been one of the fastest growing regions in Australia over the last two decades. The processes of urbanisation associated with this growth have resulted in rapid modification of the landscape. Much of the eastern grey kangaroo’s natural habitat has been cleared or fragmented by roads and high density human settlement, raising concerns for the persistence of kangaroos in some areas. The negative impacts of urbanisation on kangaroo populations in the region, while supported by the colloquial observations of local residents and wildlife professionals, is not documented. This study therefore used a modelling approach utilising data from the general community and from official sources to address the following aims; (i) to map the current distribution of eastern grey kangaroos in SEQ, (ii) to look for trends in kangaroo abundance, and iii) to identify the anthropogenic drivers of changes in kangaroo abundance. Our results indicate that kangaroo populations have, (i) undergone an overall decline in abundance and distribution and, (ii) kangaroo declines can be anticipated in areas with high rates of human population growth and/or areas with smaller natural areas or remnant bush.  This study emphasises the importance of integrated urban development over large spatial scales to mitigate impacts of urbanisation on wildlife. It also highlights how social perceptions and high visibility can obscure patterns of decline and local extinction in common species.