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Type: Journal article
Title: Searching for an effective pre-release screening tool for translocations: can trap temperament predict behaviour and survival in the wild?
Author: West, R.S.
Blumstein, D.T.
Letnic, M.
Moseby, K.E.
Citation: Biodiversity and Conservation, 2019; 28(1):229-243
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0960-3115
Statement of
R.S. West, D.T. Blumstein, M. Letnic, K.E. Moseby
Abstract: Individuals often respond to threatening situations in consistently different ways and these differences may predict later translocation success. Thus, the ability to easily identify these differences prior to translocation may assist in improving conservation outcomes. We asked whether burrowing bettongs (Bettongia lesueur), a marsupial species that has undergone significant decline since the introduction of exotic predators to Australia, responded in consistently different ways to capture in traps, and if so, whether this was related to anti-predator behaviour, ranging behaviour and survival following translocation. Behavioural responses of 40 bettongs were measured and included response to removal from traps (trap docility), latency to leave a trap or bag and escape behaviour upon release. We used flight initiation distance to measure escape behaviour, and distance moved from diurnal refuges during nocturnal foraging to measure ranging behaviour. Survival was measured through radiotracking after release. Behaviours scored during removal from a trap were consistent and repeatable, and formed a behavioural syndrome with anti-predator and ranging behaviour. Less docile bettongs foraged closer to refuges and had longer flight initiation distances. Less docile bettongs were also more likely to survive after release, although the sample size of mortalities was small. Our results suggest that behaviours scored during trapping could be a useful metric for pre-release screening in translocation programs to enhance the chances of individual survival post-release.
Keywords: Personality; anti-predator behaviour; pre-release screening; reintroduction; burrowing bettong; translocation
Rights: © Springer Nature B.V. 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1649-0
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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