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Black-flanked rock-wallaby: Potential for dietary competition with sympatric western grey kangaroo

White, Julia Louise (2019) Black-flanked rock-wallaby: Potential for dietary competition with sympatric western grey kangaroo. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Overabundant western grey kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus are known to impact agriculture, but how are they impacting threatened fauna sharing their habitat? In Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, southwest Western Australia, kangaroos are suspected of competing with the sympatric and endangered black-flanked rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis lateralis, however there is no research to support this. If kangaroos are negatively impacting rock-wallabies, kangaroo densities may need to be managed to ameliorate competitive pressures on rock-wallabies. We investigated the potential for dietary competition between M. fuliginosus and P. l. lateralis by measuring the overlap in their diets and foraging patches, as well as food resource availability. A combination of scat analysis, motion sensor camera trapping and vegetation surveys were employed. Petrogale lateralis lateralis diets were dominated by forbs and overlapped with those of M. fuliginosus which featured mostly browse and forbs (Schoener index: 0.56). Some of their shared preferred food resources were spatially and/or temporally limited. Their foraging patches also overlapped (33.9%), however these macropod species predominantly used different areas of the outcrop. Evidence over the duration of the study indicates potential for low levels of dietary competition, however the availability of shared food resources and resource partitioning suggest that P. l. lateralis were not being adversely impacted. In terms of the threatening processes limiting P. l. lateralis recovery, predation has been ranked higher than competition, a finding that is likely supported by the present study. This will likely remain true even if M. fuliginosus densities increase in the future. Conservation actions should therefore continue to prioritise the mitigation of predation threats to P. l. lateralis populations.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Supervisor(s): Fleming, Trish
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/53810
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