Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii)
Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public CommentPublic comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 24 March 2020.
Applicant: School of Natural Sciences – Zoology, University of Tasmania
Species/Taxon: Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii)
Location: Bruny Island, Ross, Oatlands, Campbell Town (public roads and private property)
Title of research: Cat-borne diseases and their impact on livestock and native wildlife in Tasmania
Aim of project: To estimate the prevalence of toxoplasmosis in pademelons in regions of low (North Bruny), intermediate (South Bruny), and high (Oatlands, Ross, Campbelltown) cat density, and to compare these estimates based on sample collection strategy (roadkill or culled animals).
Justification: Toxoplasmosis is a disease spread by feral and domestic cats which causes blindness, neurological symptoms, and death in many native Tasmanian animals. Small wallabies are highly susceptible to developing fatal acute toxoplasmosis. It also causes foetal resorption (often followed by permanent infertility), abortion, or neonatal death in pregnant ewes. Toxoplasmosis can therefore cause considerable losses to native wildlife and the livestock industry, and subclinical infection in animals poses a risk of infection for humans when raw or undercooked meat products are consumed. This project will inform the management of stray and feral cats in order to reduce the transmission of toxoplasmosis to sheep and wildlife.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: 400 individuals max (200 roadkill samples, 200 culled samples). These numbers are absolute maximums to allow comprehensive analysis of prevalence patterns, however it is unlikely that this volume of animals will be accessible within the study period (7 months).
Activities undertaken and methods:
1. Roadkill pademelons will be located and either stored for subsequent sample collection (Bruny Island) or I will be alerted of their location (Midlands). Location and temporary storage of individuals will be completed in collaboration with Kingborough Council and the Department of State Growth. Blood samples will be collected by squeezing out heart blood. Data will be collected on age and sex. Appropriate PPE will be worn when collecting samples (high vis vest and gloves). Samples will subsequently be transported to the Biological Sciences building at the University of Tasmania where they will be stored and tested for Toxoplasma gondii.
2. Blood samples will be collected from pademelons culled under a Crop Protection Permit or Commercial Wallaby Hunter’s Licence. Blood samples will be collected either during sticking of animals or by collecting congealed heart blood the following day. Data will be collected on age and sex. Appropriate PPE will be utilised when accompanying shooters (high vis vest) and when collecting samples (gloves). Samples will subsequently be transported to the Biological Sciences building at the University of Tasmania where they will be stored and tested for Toxoplasma gondii.
Fate of animals: Roadkill animals will be left where they were found or temporarily stored in a refrigerator. No animals will be killed on behalf of the experiment.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): None
Note: Any pouched young or animals found to still be alive during this project will be handled according to procedures verified by veterinary staff, ensuring highest standards of animal welfare. All carcasses will be removed from roadsides.