Does baiting influence the relative composition of the diet of foxes?

Roberts, Michael W., Dexter, Nick, Meek, Paul D., Hudson, Matt and Buttemer, William A. 2006, Does baiting influence the relative composition of the diet of foxes?, Wildlife research, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 481-488, doi: 10.1071/WR05009.

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Title Does baiting influence the relative composition of the diet of foxes?
Author(s) Roberts, Michael W.
Dexter, Nick
Meek, Paul D.
Hudson, Matt
Buttemer, William A.
Journal name Wildlife research
Volume number 33
Issue number 6
Start page 481
End page 488
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1035-3712
Summary The changes in the diet of foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the Jervis Bay Region was assessed following a long-term baiting program by analysing the composition of fox faecal excreta (scats). In all, 470 fox scats were collected between April and August 2003 from two baited sites, Booderee National Park (BNP) and Beecroft Peninsula, and from two unbaited sites in the southern and northern parts of Jervis Bay National Park (SJBNP and NJBNP respectively). Diet was compared between these sites and mammalian diet was also compared from scats collected before baiting in 1996 and after baiting in 2000 at Beecroft Peninsula and in 2001 at Booderee National Park. In 2003, the most common species consumed by foxes was the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), except at unbaited NJBNP, where the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) was the most frequent dietary item. Significant dietary differences were found between unbaited and baited sites, with the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta) and P. peregrinus featuring more in the diet of foxes from the baited sites. Marked increases in the frequency of occurrence of P. peregrinus and P. nasuta in fox scats occurred from before baiting through to after baiting. Relative fox abundance, as indexed by the number of scats collected per kilometre, was lowest in Booderee, followed by Beecroft, then SJBNP, with NJBNP having the highest relative abundance of foxes. We suggest that baiting did affect the diet of foxes on both peninsulas and that the dietary changes across baiting histories were intrinsically related to an increase in abundance in some taxa as a result of relaxed predator pressure following sustained fox control. However, the lack of unbaited control sites over the whole study precludes a definitive conclusion.
Language eng
DOI 10.1071/WR05009
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, CSIRO
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