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Demographic trends and reproductive patterns in the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific), central Queensland (advance online)

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White,  Lauren C.
Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Horsup, A. B., Austin, J. J., Fewster, R. M., Hansen, B. D., Harper, D. E., Molyneux, J. A., et al. (2020). Demographic trends and reproductive patterns in the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific), central Queensland (advance online). Australian Mammalogy. doi:10.1071/AM20030.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-063F-D
Abstract
The critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) currently exists at only two locations in Queensland. Management, research and monitoring of the species at the main Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) population has occurred over the last four decades using a variety of tools, with the most complete dataset being provided by burrow activity monitoring over that period. Following a series of trap-based surveys in the 1980s and 1990s, wombat monitoring has employed DNA profiling of hairs collected remotely on sticky tape set at burrow entrances (since 2000), and passive infrared (PIR) cameras (since 2011). These techniques have produced a wealth of new information on the species. Using this new information, we aim to: (1) summarise the available demographic data and present new estimates using novel techniques for L. krefftii at Epping Forest NP; and (2) characterise reproductive patterns and their relationship with environmental factors for L. krefftii at Epping Forest NP. We find an ongoing increase in the population size at Epping Forest National Park, supported by healthy levels of reproduction despite periods of poor environmental conditions, notwithstanding the finding that cumulative monthly rainfall six months prior to sampling influenced birth rates. This trend suggests that the population will likely reach carrying capacity in the near future. It is timely to harvest the population to provide founders to a new site to establish an additional population, which will also reduce the risk of extinction and help secure the future of the species.