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Backyard Bandicoots: What factors determine habitat suitability?

thesis
posted on 2020-11-06, 00:00 authored by Emily Reynolds
With such a large percentage of Australia’s threatened species living in, or directly alongside, urban areas, conservation research is switching focus to the potential of these modified landscapes to support native wildlife populations. Urban adapter species, such as the southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus obesulus), might be beneficiaries of this new outlook and conservation approach. Residential gardens across metropolitan Melbourne, and notably surrounding the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne (RBGC), could be key in facilitating the persistence of remnant Victorian I. o. obesulus populations. We surveyed residents across metropolitan Melbourne to determine their awareness of local bandicoots and investigate their attitudes, knowledge and behaviour relating to community-based conservation. Overall, we found high levels of I. o. obesulus awareness across the study region. Participants who saw bandicoots were more confident with species identification than those who did not see them. Through examination of various backyard features, we found tall/clumping grasses, chicken coops, fruit trees, and wire fencing to be significant predictors of I. o. obesulus presence. On the other hand, metal fencing was found to be negatively correlated with bandicoot presence. Most participants were open to continued I. o. obesulus presence, however, the biggest barrier to implementing wildlife-friendly garden strategies was pet ownership, specifically dogs. Bandicoot presence was also perceived as bringing about several risks, including pet predation on bandicoots, damage to gardens and bandicoot habitat (dense vegetation) attracting snakes. Our results will help inform future management and implementation of community-based conservation initiatives and could assist in creating more suitable urban habitat for bandicoots.

History

Pagination

69 p.

Material type

thesis

Resource type

thesis

Language

eng

Degree type

Honours

Degree name

B. Environmental Science (Hons)

Copyright notice

All rights reserved

Editor/Contributor(s)

E Ritchie

Faculty

Faculty of Science

School

Engineering and Built Environment

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