Tracking quokkas through fires

By Leticia Povh. Most Western Australians know quokkas from their travels to Rottnest Island.  Fewer of us are lucky enough to have been introduced to quokkas on the mainland, where quokkas are restricted to a small number of scattered populations. These populations face threats, including reduction of habitat, decreasing rainfall, competition with feral species, and…

A Rubbish Diet

By Heather Crawford, Mike Calver and Trish Fleming.  Domestic cats (Felis catus) are one of the most widely distributed and successful carnivores globally. In cities, unowned cats (‘stray’) live in close association with human habitations and can roam across neighbourhoods, commercial areas, parks and bush reserves, hunting wildlife and scavenging food where they can find…

Give an Easter Bilby, because they give back!

By Stuart Dawson.  Easter is upon us, the holy grail of long weekends (especially when so close to ANZAC Day). Every year in Australia we celebrate this time with chocolate bunnies, inadvertently popularising an invasive and destructive species, the European Rabbit. The reason we use rabbits appears to be due to their famously fecund nature,…

Can we save flatback turtle nests from foxes?

By John-Michael Stuart.  Murdoch University is part of a joint effort in the State’s north-west to save a population of vulnerable flatback turtles from predation by foxes (see story). Along with Curtin University and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), we have been working with the pastoralist of the remote Mundabullangana Station.  Mundabullangana…

Follow the road – bilbies and cats use access tracks

By Stuart Dawson.  As humans, we follow linear clearings all day.  Every road, footpath, and hallway is a clearly defined, linear opening that allows us to move easily, quickly, and (excluding some beautiful European cities) reduces the likelihood of becoming lost. When these roads and tracks are within undisturbed vegetation, such as across much of…

Secrets of the noodji (native ash-grey mouse)

By Kiarrah Smith.  Despite being subject to the greatest rate of Australian mammal species extinction over recent times, native rodents are a relatively poorly studied group. The risk of rapid decline is particularly valid for species considered ‘least concern’, but for which we have very little understanding of their biology or habitat requirements. One such…

Runways and fancy feet – tracking escape paths of marsupials

By Natasha Tay.  Ever thought you’d spend two weeks in the bush giving bettongs rave party feet and putting them on a runway for science? I travelled to Arid Recovery in South Australia this past May to do exactly that. My PhD investigates anti-predator behaviour in marsupials, focussing on how anatomy affects their physical ability…

Bobtails and dugites – reptiles in the city

By Ashleigh Wolfe.  The study of urban ecology is a rising topic within the ecological research community, and as urban sprawl increases across the globe, and more and more people are moving to urbanised areas, the need to understand how we as humans impact wildlife is growing. Urbanisation presents novel challenges for wildlife in many…

As humans change the world, predators seize the chance to succeed

Published in The Conversation and in Animal Behaviour By Bill Bateman and Trish Fleming.  If you have ever been to a nature reserve in Africa, you may have been lucky enough to see predators on a kill – maybe something spectacular like lions on a giraffe. The chances are you got to see that because…

Wild dog control

A three-year project examining control of wild dogs has been finalised.  A summary of our findings on wild dog impacts is available. This work will be continued as part of a grant awarded under the Western Australian Wild Dog Action Plan.  You can read about this proposed work here or here. We surveyed landholders for…

Advances in Mammalogy in a Changing World #IMC12

By Trish Fleming.  750 mammal experts made the long trip to Perth last week, to discuss breaking research on their favourite furballs at the 12th International Mammal Congress.  There were up to 10 parallel sessions, which made it difficult deciding which talks to attend at any one time – no two attendees would have come…

Is ecotourism good or bad? The answer is never simple…

Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.  Humans innately like to categorise things.  Perhaps this helps us to compartmentalise and understand the world.  Zoology, and other life sciences, tend not to be so amenable to this; taxonomically and ecologically and physiologically and genetically there is always overlap, there is always some confusion.  The study of behaviour is…