Long-term monitoring protocols for established populations of threatened mammals: Faure Island, Shark Bay (#144)
The creation of feral predator-free exclosures and islands has become a national focus for the conservation of critical weight-range mammals. During the planning stages, it is important to consider protocols for the long-term monitoring of the proposed species for translocation. This can be aided by considering lessons learned from existing exclosures and the populations of threatened mammal species within. One such example is Faure Island, a 5000 ha island located in Shark Bay, Western Australia. The pastoral lease over the island was acquired by Australian Wildlife Conservancy in 2000. The island was freed of introduced predators (cats) and grazers (goats) in 2001. A reintroduction program was initiated in 2002, with the translocation of burrowing bettongs (Bettongia lesueur) and Shark Bay mice (Pseudomys fieldi), followed by the translocation of banded hare-wallabies (Lagostrophus fasciatus) in 2004 and western barred bandicoots (Perameles bougainville) in 2005. As the populations of these species became established, it became increasingly difficult to monitor some species. Numerous methodologies have been trialed, including various trap arrays, spotlighting, camera trapping, scat plots and tracking plots. Final decisions on long-term protocols considered robustness of data, animal welfare, cost and practicality.