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Landscape-scale effects of homesteads, water, and dingoes on invading chital deer in Australia’s dry tropics

Forsyth, D. M., Pople, A., Woodford, L., Brennan, M., Amos, M., Moloney, P. D., Fanson, B. and Story, G. (2019) Landscape-scale effects of homesteads, water, and dingoes on invading chital deer in Australia’s dry tropics. Journal of Mammalogy . ISSN 0022-2372

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyz139

Publisher URL: https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jmammal/gyz139/5637230

Abstract

Identifying landscape features and processes that facilitate the persistence of populations is particularly important for invasive mammal species, because it can focus management interventions on relatively small areas. We used camera traps to test predictions concerning the relative abundance of invading chital deer (Axis axis) on seven cattle ranches in northern Australia: that abundance of chital deer would be highest near permanent water and near homesteads, and that dingoes (Canis dingo) reduce abundance of chital deer. Distance from the nearest homestead determined deer abundance (as indexed by images per camera-day), with negligible abundance > 4 km from homesteads. In contrast, distance from homestead did not predict abundance of feral pigs (Sus scrofa), macropods, or dingoes. Abundance of chital deer also declined with increasing distance from water, as did feral pig abundance. There was no relationship between either macropod or dingo abundance and distance to water. The abundance of chital deer was unaffected by dingo abundance, but 75–100% of dingo scats collected within 1 km of homesteads contained chital deer. The high abundances of chital deer near homesteads are likely due to increased food quality or quantity, or protection from dingoes, but these hypotheses require further testing. We conclude that homesteads and permanent water are important determinants of the distribution and abundance of invasive chital deer in northern Australia (i.e., they are “invasion hubs” for this species). Our results suggest that, during the dry season, managers should survey for and attempt to control chital deer within 4 km of homesteads and within 3 km of water.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:Open access
Keywords:artificial water points, Axis axis, Axis deer, biological invasions, camera trapping, diet, dingo, feral pig, invasion hubs, landscape ecology
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural ecology (General)
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Animal culture > Deer
Deposited On:03 Dec 2019 00:08
Last Modified:03 Dec 2019 00:08

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