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Habitat selection by vulnerable golden bandicoots in the arid zone
  • +2
  • Cheryl Lohr,
  • Kristen Nilsson,
  • Colleen Sims,
  • Judy Dunlop,
  • Michael Lohr
Cheryl Lohr
Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions
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Kristen Nilsson
Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions
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Colleen Sims
Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions
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Judy Dunlop
Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions
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Michael Lohr
Phoenix Environmental Sciences
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Abstract

In 2010, vulnerable golden bandicoots (Isoodon auratus) were translocated from Barrow Island, Western Australia, to a predator-free enclosure on the Matuwa Indigenous Protected Area. Golden bandicoots were once widespread throughout a variety of arid and semi-arid habitats of central and northern Australia. Like many small to medium-sized marsupials, the species has severely declined since colonisation and has been reduced to only four remnant natural populations. Between 2010 and 2020 the reintroduced population of golden bandicoots on Matuwa was monitored via capture-mark-recapture data collection which was used in spatially explicit capture-recapture analysis to monitor their abundance over time. In 2014, we used VHF transmitters to examine the home range and habitat selection of 20 golden bandicoots in the enclosure over a six-week period. We used compositional analysis to compare the use of four habitat types. Golden bandicoot abundance in the enclosure slowly increased between 2010 and 2014 and has since plateaued at approximately one quarter of the density observed in the founding population on Barrow Island. The population may have plateaued because some bandicoots escape through the fence. Golden bandicoots used habitats dominated by scattered shrubland over spinifex grass more than expected given the habitat’s availability. Nocturnal foraging range was influenced by sex and trapping location, whereas diurnal refuge habitat was consistent across sex and trapping location. Our work suggests that diurnal refuge habitat may be an important factor for the success of proposed translocations of golden bandicoots.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

13 Apr 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
15 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
16 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 May 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
10 Jun 20211st Revision Received
11 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
11 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
11 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Accept