Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 26 July 2019.
Applicant: University of Tasmania, School of Natural Sciences
Species/Taxon: The focus of this study is on native and invasive mammal species: Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian pademelon, Bennetts wallaby, brushtail possum, spotted tailed quoll, eastern quoll, Tasmanian bettong, long nosed potoroo, eastern barred bandicoot, southern brown bandicoot, Swamp rat, feral cat, European rabbit, and black rats. However, our surveys may detect species that include, but are not limited to: long-tailed mouse, dusky antechinus, common ringtail possum, swamp antechinus, short-beaked echidna, water rat, blotched bluetongue, and bird species.
Location: This study will be conducted state-wide on private (including Sustainable Timber Tasmania) and reserved land. Each study site will be comprised by three landscapes ~25km2 in size with different intensities of land-use. Replication will be performed by bioregions.
Title of research: Science to conserve wildlife at landscape-scale: rabbits to control cats
Aim of project: This project aims to understand how human intensification of land-use influences the relationships and consequently the distribution and abundance of native and invasive mammal species in Tasmania.
Justification: Australia’s biodiversity is disappearing due to invasive species and habitat loss. Evidence suggests that human changes in landscape may be favouring invasive over native species. If elements of landscape influence the ecological interactions between native and invasive mammal species, we could benefit from the understanding of such relationships to manage landscapes in a way that they reduce the impact of invasive species on native ones. This could influence the planning, design, and management of landscapes towards favouring native fauna. Furthermore, by understanding how changes in landscape could favour native species, this project tests an alternative approach to direct control of invasive species.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: It is difficult to quantify the number of animals that will be registered through non-invasive methods (camera-traps). We are aiming to capture 80 individuals per species to obtain blood and faecal samples as well as make opportunistic use of roadkill to obtain these samples.
Activities undertaken and methods: Density and abundance of wildlife will be estimated using camera-traps, as well as capture-recapture methods. For each captured individual we will collect small blood samples and faeces left in traps for analysis of diet, stress and pathogen diversity.
Fate of animals: All animals trapped during this study will be released at the site of capture after identification and collection of samples. The “Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes” (edition 2013), however requires that feral cats must be humanely destroyed. Camera traps are non-invasive.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Trapping and handling of animals may cause small amounts of stress. Investigators will be trained in animal handling and welfare before carrying out fieldwork.