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Macropod Management: Maria Island National Park. Annual Report 2017


Ingram, J, Macropod Management: Maria Island National Park. Annual Report 2017, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Hobart, Australia (2017) [Consultants Report]

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There is no recommendation for the annual macropod cull to occur on Maria Island NP for 2017. It is, however, recommended that the Maria Island Macropod Management Program (MMMP) be reviewed as soon as possible. Both recommendations include consideration of this year’s results from the Integrated Monitoring Strategy (2010). Population monitoring indicates a slight increase in the Forester kangaroo population trend, and a declining Bennetts wallaby. The population trend for Tasmanian pademelon has increased since last year. Tasmanian pademelon are considered to be a major component of the Tasmanian devil diet on Maria Island NP, and as such, are considered to be a valuable food resource. The results of biological monitoring indicate fatty liver change, a key indicator of nutritional stress, in sampled Bennetts wallaby, Tasmanian pademelon, and Forester kangaroo. Fecundity (the number of females with pouch young) is high for all three macropod species, while the kidney fat index (KFI) for females is high for Tasmanian pademelon only.

Prior to the Tasmanian devil translocation, the current levels of intense grazing pressure and high nutritional stress may have resulted in a recommendation that a cull should occur, as per the MMMP Decision Tree. Reducing grazing pressure would aim to improve animal welfare during the upcoming winter period. In addition, forecasts indicate only a moderate chance of exceeding median rainfall this winter, with the long term weather outlook indicating the probability of drier conditions in Tasmania from an El Niño cycle. The Parks & Wildlife Service (PWS) endorsed Directions Statement 2011 and associated Decision Tree does not include the potential impacts from the Tasmanian devil translocation project, or the common wombat population on Maria Island NP. The common wombat population trend has been increasing since 2011, although with a slight decrease apparent in this year’s results.

Subject to a review of the MMMP, culling for management purposes on Maria Island NP may be considered in the future. Such a review provides an opportunity to address the imbalance in the overall management of marsupial herbivores on the island. In addition, the presence of Tasmanian devils and common wombats on Maria Island NP are issues that need to be addressed in a more holistic wildlife management program. The number of Tasmanian devils on Maria Island NP has been estimated to be in excess of the upper bound of the predicted carrying capacity (80-120 devils: Jones and McCallum, 2007), prior to the recent trapping and removal of 33 devils in May 2017. Of concern is the lack of knowledge on the health and distribution of the common wombat population despite the potential for infectious disease outbreaks such as sarcoptic mange and toxoplasmosis.

Item Details

Item Type:Consultants Report
Keywords:macropod management, kangaroo, bennetts wallaby, culling, integrated monitoring
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ingram, J (Ms Janeane Ingram)
ID Code:118491
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2017-07-12
Last Modified:2017-07-13

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