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Quenda: Pet, Pest or Plague? Residents’ perceptions of, observations of, and interactions with quenda in urban gardens and in relation to garden practices and pet management strategies

Caspersz-Loney, Joseph (2019) Quenda: Pet, Pest or Plague? Residents’ perceptions of, observations of, and interactions with quenda in urban gardens and in relation to garden practices and pet management strategies. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Despite the displacement of native wildlife due to urbanisation, quenda (Isoodon fusciventer), are maintaining populations within the Perth Metropolitan Region, frequently interacting with human residents. Urban gardens potentially provide critical resources for quenda, even though these areas are often modified to suit human interests. However, the possible associations between residents’ observations of, perceptions of, and interactions with quenda (and garden practices and pet management strategies) and quenda presence and behaviour in urban gardens are unknown. We interviewed 61 residents in the City of Mandurah about their observations of, perceptions of, and interactions with quenda, and their garden practices and pet management strategies. We found that residents are willing to share their gardens with quenda, however 38% of residents initially mistook quenda for rats. Residents who fed quenda were more likely to observe specific quenda behaviours. Compost, damp soil, water sources and dense, established or native vegetation may attract quenda to urban gardens. No association was found between pet presence and quenda presence and behaviour, however residents who practiced night-time confinement of dogs were more likely to see dead quenda and less likely to observe quenda seeking food and water. Residents who practiced total confinement of cats were more likely to observe direct interactions between residents and quenda. Further, residents take quenda into account with their pet management strategies and communicate about quenda, including correcting each others’ misidentification. Actions by local councils, such as installing bandicoot-crossing signs, alert residents to quenda presence. It is suggested that programs to increase community awareness of quenda are urgently required and that existing initiatives should be extended. Additional research should focus on the likelihood of increased quenda presence in urban areas leading to human-wildlife conflict; the capacity of gardens to provide resources for quenda and act as habitat corridors and the influence of pet and quenda temperament in the dynamics of pet-quenda relationships. This study raises the possibility of quenda being utilised as a flagship species to increase community engagement in and awareness of urban conservation in Perth.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
United Nations SDGs: Goal 15: Life on Land
Supervisor(s): Baudains, Catherine and Kristancic, Amanda
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50814
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