Spatial ecology of an endangered carnivore, the Pilbara northern quoll

Date: 29, Jul, 2020
Author(s):   Hernandez-Santin, L., Henderson, M., Molloy. S.W., Dunlop, J.A., Davis, R.A.
Publisher: Australian Mammalogy

Understanding the spatial requirements of a species allows one to tailor actions that can help protect species and their habitats. We investigated the spatial needs of the endangered northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) in the Pilbara. We analysed field data based on GPS-telemetry or a combination of GPS and VHF telemetry for 11 northern quolls with data collected over two week periods. Using MCP and Kernel methods, we found average short-term ranges of 193 ha and 115 ha for males, and for the only female with reliable data the estimates were 34 ha and 23 ha, respectively, with Kernel-based core areas that were between five and three times smaller for males and the female, respectively. We found support for our hypothesis that ranges differ between seasons, but with a seasonal trend that was different from that expected. The ranges of males during the premating/mating season were smaller than during the pouch-young season. Our study provides the first detailed attempt to define and understand short-term movement behaviour of the Pilbara northern quoll. The information derived from our study can help to increase the accuracy of predictive outputs and better inform habitat prioritisation and conservation management of the Pilbara northern quoll population.