Adaptive management to conserve the malleefowl

Date: 27, Oct, 2019
Author(s):   Hauser, C. E., Southwell, D., Lahoz-Monfort, J. J., Rumpff, L., Benshemesh, J., Burnard, T., van Hespen, R., Wright, J., Wintle, B., & Bode, M.
Publisher: TSR Hub

The malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) is a ground-dwelling bird found in semi-arid regions of southern Australia that builds distinctive large mounds, which it uses to incubate its eggs in the heat of decomposing debris. It is listed as Vulnerable under Australian environmental law and has been the focus of extensive community conservation efforts. The species faces a range of threats including: habitat loss; altered fire regimes; competition with both native and introduced herbivores, like feral goats; and predation by introduced predators. The most common strategy to conserve malleefowl populations is to bait for foxes and cats; however, the effectiveness of this action on malleefowl is uncertain and highly disputed. In this study, we outlined our approach to designing a large-scale adaptive management program for malleefowl. The aim of the program is to resolve uncertainty about the effectiveness of predator control as a management strategy for the species. To pursue this aim, we developed a communication strategy that facilitated and formalised collaboration among the numerous agencies and community groups concerned with malleefowl conservation.