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Author Topic: Itís official: goannas donít like foxes either  (Read 5729 times)

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Itís official: goannas donít like foxes either
« on: June 12, 2013, 06:21:30 PM »
For Bushwacker

Media Release from Vic DEPI

Itís official: goannas donít like foxes either

The benefits of fox control for native mammals and ground-nesting birds have been recognised for some time, but a recently published study has found that the Lace Monitor or Tree Goanna also appreciates reduced fox numbers.

Andrew Murray, Operations Manager for the Southern Ark Project said anyone who camps in East Gippsland in summer may well be familiar with these large, imposing lizards as they swagger confidently around campgrounds in search of food.

ďLooking at these individuals itís hard to imagine they would have any problems dealing with foxes, but clearly this is not the case across the entire forest, as a recent study shows,Ē Mr Murray said.

Jennifer Anson, a PhD student from Sydney University and her colleagues looked at a number of different aspects relating to Lace Monitors in far East Gippsland, in areas where fox control had been undertaken since 1998, and in nearby areas where foxes had yet to be controlled.

Anson found that goannas living in the areas where foxes were controlled were not only in better physical condition, they were also more prepared to take risks to obtain food rewards. This was determined by the much higher rate at which goannas were captured in traps in the fox control areas (72.5 per cent) compared to those in areas where foxes were not controlled (33.3 per cent).

ďThe results of this research are yet another example of why it is so important to undertake fox control across our parks and forests,Ē Mr Murray said.

ďBoth foxes and goannas prey heavily on Common Ringtail possums, and although the goannas are active during the day and foxes mainly at night, the mere presence of foxes appears to be significant enough to influence how the goannas forage for food.Ē

ďIt looks as if the goannas spend more time looking over their shoulders for foxes and take fewer risks and spend less time hunting when foxes are prevalent. This results in them being in poorer condition, meaning they are more likely to suffer from disease and parasites, which can eventually lead to death.Ē

ďClearly, foxes are not only an issue for animals they prey on directly, such as potoroos and bandicoots, but also on the native predators they compete with.Ē

Lace Monitors have recently been classified as ďEndangeredĒ in the 2013 edition of the Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria, which makes the results of the research, and the protection being afforded them by the Southern Ark project, even more relevant.

ďAll of Jennifer Ansonís study sites in far East Gippsland are now within the Southern Ark program, and subject to effective, ongoing fox control. This means that right across our forested landscape, goannas will be swaggering about with a bit more freedom these days.Ē

ďFor the Ringtail possums it means that while the danger of getting eaten by a fox is now fairly low, they still might end up as summer lunch for a goanna if they donít keep their wits about them!Ē

Reference: Anson JR, Dickman CR, Boonstra R, Jessop TS (2013) Stress Triangle: Do Introduced Predators Exert Indirect Costs on Native Predators and Prey? PLoS ONE 8(4): e60916. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060916

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Re: Itís official: goannas donít like foxes either
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 09:51:27 PM »
Cheers for that, A very interesting read  :GoodPost)

No doubt will use it as a form of cannon fodder at some stage  :thumbsup


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