Predation from introduced cats and foxes is the major factor responsible for the extinction of wild native mammal populations and the failure of reintroductions of endangered mammals in Australia.
Animals isolated from predators either evolutionarily or throughout their lifetime may not possess appropriate anti-predator behaviour. Attempts to train naïve threatened species to avoid predators have focused on pre-release training of captive populations, but there is very little evidence to suggest this leads to improved reintroduction success in the wild. This project aims to improve the survival of extant and reintroduced threatened species populations by exploring prey naïveté to introduced predators and developing strategies for improving predator-avoidance behaviour.
This project is a partnership between UNSW, Arid Recovery and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
There are six species of Black-Cockatoo endemic to Australia. The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is one of the largest species, and found from Central/South Eastern Queensland down to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Invasive native scrub cover in arid Australia has increased dramatically over the past century coincident with declines of native mammal species in the critical weight range.
Every year since 2007 the Centre for Ecosystem Science has been running field trips to Sturt National Park, Strzelecki Regional Reserve and nearby properties under the directive of Professor Mike Letnic.