Determining the Goldilocks Zone to allow threatened small mammal populations to survive outside fenced reserves on mainland Australia: An experimental trial reintroduction of eastern bettongs

Date: 14, Oct, 2021
Author(s): Adrian Manning  
Publisher: TSR Hub

The eastern bettong has been driven to extinction on mainland Australia, and wild populations of eastern bettongs now only persist in Tasmania. Foxes are one of the primary drivers of the mainland extirpation. Mainland reintroduction efforts for the eastern bettong have so far concentrated on fenced sanctuaries where feral predators are absent. In collaboration with the ACT Government and Woodlands and Wetlands Trust, we experimentally trialled the reintroduction of bettongs to an unfenced area of good habitat in the Lower Cotter Catchment, ACT, in conjunction with an extensive and adaptive fox control program. We tested whether fox predation pressure could be reduced sufficiently to allow the bettong population to persist, and whether some level of fox predation could drive bettongs to adapt predator-resistance.