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Shedding light on a cryptic macropodid: home ranges and habitat preferences of translocated western brush wallabies (Notamacropus irma)

Povh, Leticia F., Bencini, Roberta, Chambers, Brian K., Kreplins, T.L., Willers, Nicole, Adams, P.J., Wann, Joanne, Kobryn, H.T.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593 and Fleming, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 (2018) Shedding light on a cryptic macropodid: home ranges and habitat preferences of translocated western brush wallabies (Notamacropus irma). Australian Mammalogy, 41 (1). pp. 82-91.

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A salvage translocation of western brush wallabies (Notamacropus irma (Jourdan, 1837)) was a condition of approval to build a new runway at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia. Since little is known about this endemic Western Australian species, the translocation presented a valuable opportunity to gain information on the species after release into Harry Waring Marsupial Reserve, a 260-ha reserve where these animals had been recorded previously. We aimed to gain information on the biology and ecology of the species and follow the movement of individuals tracked with Global Positioning System (GPS) collars over six months to determine their short-term survival, home-range establishment, overlap in home range between individuals, and habitat utilisation in the reserve. Weekly mean home-range estimates did not differ between males (10.0 ± 9.7 (s.d.) ha, 95% KDE, n = 6) and females (12.1 ± 6.1 (s.d.) ha, 95% KDE, n = 5) (P = 0.473). Some males had 67-70% overlap in home ranges with some females, but substantial distances maintained between individuals (from 123 ± 110 m to 292 ± 303 m) confirmed the solitary nature of the species. Western brush wallabies preferred Banksia spp. woodlands, possibly due to the availability of canopy cover, and some specific understorey associations, such as Hibbertia hypericoides, that form part of their diet. Our study highlighted the importance of understanding the home-range establishment and vegetation preferences of translocated animals that will inform the planning of future translocations

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright: © 2018 Australian Mammal Society
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