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Investigation of potential diseases associated with Northern Territory mammal declines

Reiss, A., Jackson, B.ORCID: 0000-0002-8622-8035, Gillespie, G., Stokeld, D. and Warren, K.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013 (2015) Investigation of potential diseases associated with Northern Territory mammal declines. Charles Darwin University, Darwwin.

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There is compelling evidence of broad-scale declines in populations of small terrestrial native mammals in northern Australia, including the Top End of the Northern Territory (NT) over the past 20 years. Causes under consideration include changed fire regimes, introduced fauna (including predators) and disease. To date information on health and disease in northern Australian mammals has been limited.

Disease is increasingly recognised as a primary driver of some wildlife population declines and extinctions e.g., Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, white nose syndrome in bats and chytrid fungus in amphibians.

Disease has been identified as a risk factor for extinction in declining and fragmented wildlife populations globally, particularly in situations of increased environmental stressors, changing ecosystems, arrival of new vertebrate threats or climate change. Unless wild populations are studied in detail over long periods of time, the effects of disease are easily overlooked and may be difficult to determine.

This study is the largest and most comprehensive study of health and disease in small mammals in northern Australia and is one of a small number of studies worldwide to have approached investigation of wildlife populations in this comprehensive manner.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Charles Darwin University
Copyright: © Charles Darwin University 2015
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