Pythons, foxes and possums
It is important for conservation managers to understand ecological interactions between native predators and prey and how eradication and control programs of introduced predators, such as the fox Vulpes vulpes, affect native animals. Foxes have long been perceived as a threat to the survival of native mammal species. Consequently, widespread fox control programs have been implemented in Western Australia with the aim of recovering populations of native fauna that were abundant previous to the fox‟s arrival. Early success of this program has recently been overshadowed by some worrying trends, for example, the woylie Bettongia penicillata declined dramatically post-1999 after an initial population increase at Batalling. This has raised questions regarding whether fox baiting removes this apex predator and therefore releases subordinate predators (a mesopredator release effect) which in turn, increases predation upon native prey species. This poster outlines research currently undertaken to determine if there is a mesopredator release effect upon the native ambush predator, the southwest carpet python Morelia spilota imbricata. It describes the methodologies proposed to determine if a mesopredator release exists for the elusive, un-trappable python, particularly in areas where the endangered western ringtail possum Pseudocheirus occidentalis is translocated in an attempt to increase its current range and abundance.
|Publication Type:||Conference Item|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences|
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