Elucidating Patterns in the Occurrence of Threatened Ground-Dwelling Marsupials Using Camera-Traps
Office of Environment and Heritage, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Nature Conservation Section, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620, Australia
School of Science, University of New South Wales, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620, Australia
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 September 2019 / Revised: 17 October 2019 / Accepted: 31 October 2019 / Published: 3 November 2019
Being able to effectively monitor the continued plight of highly vulnerable animals against management efforts over time is critical for their conservation. In south-eastern New South Wales, Australia, we used a camera trapping array to collect baseline information about patterns of occurrence of three threatened native ground-dwelling marsupials of conservation interest: the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta), long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) and southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus). Over a four-year period, detections of the two bandicoots were more erratic and less predictable than that of the potoroo, resulting in higher uncertainty about occupancy estimates and adequacy of sampling effort. The detection probability of each bandicoot species and that of the potoroo differed variously with structural complexity of vegetation. Detection probability of the southern brown bandicoot was highest where ground cover was most dense and shrub cover most open. The reverse pattern was found for the long-nosed bandicoot. Finally, the detection probability of the long-nosed potoroo was highest where ground and shrub cover was densest. Future camera trapping monitoring efforts need to take better account of these nuances and be flexible to including additional sampling for at least the two bandicoots. In short, when it comes to monitoring approach, one size doesn’t fit all.