Conservation conundrums and the challenges of managing unexplained declines of multiple species

Date: 05, Apr, 2018
Author(s):   David B. Lindenmayer, Jeff Wood, Christopher MacGregor, Claire Foster, Ben Scheele, Ayesha Tulloch, Philip Barton, Sam Banks, Natasha Robinson, Nick Dexter, Luke S. O'Loughlin, Sarah Legge
Publisher: Biological Conservation

The conventional approach to conserving threatened biota is to identify drivers of decline, instigate actions to mitigate threatening processes, and monitor interventions to test their effectiveness and ensure target species recover. In Australia, predation by introduced predators is a threatening process for many native mammals. Here we report the results of a 15 year monitoring study in an iconic Australian reserve, Booderee National Park, where exotic Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations have been controlled through an intensive poison baiting program since 2003. Unexpectedly, we documented the collapse of native mammal fauna during this period, including fully arboreal species that should be largely unaffected by fox predation – such as the nationally Vulnerable Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) and Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus).