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Live-trapping of the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii): Population-size estimates and effects on individuals

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Hoyle, S.D., Horsup, A.B., Johnson, C.N., Crossman, D.G. and McCallum, H. (1995) Live-trapping of the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii): Population-size estimates and effects on individuals. Wildlife Research, 22 (6). pp. 741-755. ISSN 1035-3712


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/WR9950741


The northern hairy-nosed wombat, one of the most endangered large mammals known, occurs only in Epping Forest National Park, central Queensland. The results of a 3-stage trapping programme, carried out between 1985 and 1993, were used to estimate population size by means of three separate modelling approaches: minimum number alive (MNA), mark-recapture, and trapping effort. Trapping procedure varied among sessions, and each estimator was applied to sessions only where its use was appropriate. The population-size estimate for 1985-86 was 67 (trap effort) with MNA of 58; for 1988-89 it was 62 (Jolly-Seber mark-recapture estimate), with MNA of 48 and upper 95% confidence limit of 77; and for 1993 it was 65 (Chao mark-recapture and trap effort), with MNA of 43 and upper 95% confidence limit of 186 (Chao mark-recapture). No population trends were observed, although variability in estimates and wide confidence intervals meant that power to do so was limited. Trapping affected the health and behaviour of wombats. Animals that were trapped twice within 10 nights lost an average of 0.62 kg (P = 0.006) between captures. Wombats that were trapped twice within the first four nights of traps being set on a burrow showed less weight loss than those trapped for the second time after 5-7 nights (0.23 kg v. 1.54 kg). The effects of trapping appeared to remain with animals for some time, since animals trapped twice more than 30 nights apart and within six months weighed an average of 0.5 kg less (P = 0.013) on second capture. When areas were trapped twice in succession with a 3-week gap, population-size estimates were lower for the second period of trapping. Thus, some wombats may have temporarily left areas disturbed by trapping. The deleterious impact of trapping may be reduced by restricting trapping to periods of four nights. Trapping effectiveness may be increased by minimising disturbance immediately before trapping and by moving traps between periods of trapping.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Marsupialia. Marsupials > Diprotodontia (Kangaroos, koalas, possums, wombats, bilbies etc)
Live Archive:19 Apr 2024 04:04
Last Modified:19 Apr 2024 04:04

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