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The social behaviour and captive management of Bennett's wallabies, Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus

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Chapman, Michelle E.(Michelle Elizabeth) (2003) The social behaviour and captive management of Bennett's wallabies, Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The Bennett's wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus, is frequently exhibited in
wildlife parks and zoos in Australia and overseas. The social behaviour of the Bennett's
wallaby was investigated and its role in developing captive management strategies was
considered. A questionnaire was mailed to 31 wildlife parks and zoos within Australia
and New Zealand to collect information on current husbandry practices and to provide a
basis for experimental manipulations of a captive group. A comprehensive behavioural
inventory was compiled using observations of captive Bennett's wallabies at Bonorong
Wildlife Park and the University of Tasmania, as well as wild wallabies at Coal Mines
Nature Reserve on the Tasman Peninsula and Mt Field National Park in south-eastern
Tasmania. Wallabies at the university enclosure devoted the greatest portion of both the
day and night time browsing or attending feeding stations, although more time was
devoted to browsing during the day and feeding at night.. Alert postures were sustained
for longer periods during the day than at night. These activities were alternated with
long and frequent periods of resting. Social interactions of any kind were rarely
observed, particularly during the daytime.
The collection of Bennett's wallabies established at the University of Tasmania were
utilised in experimental manipulations examining the effects of varying the number and
position of feeding stations available, stocking rates and the age and gender of group
members on the frequencies of performing elements of behaviour and occupying sectors
of the enclosure. When four feeders were spaced throughout the 1000 m2 of the
enclosure wallabies occupied more sectors, were more active and interacted significantly
more often than when feeders were positioned near to each other or their numbers
reduced. When stocked at rates of three, six or nine animals per 1000 m2 , wallabies
were more visible and active and interacted amicably more frequently at the medium
stocking rate than at other times. When more adults were included in the captive group
than members of other age classes, the proportion of time that wallabies were hidden
from view in refuges within enclosure vegetation slightly increased but was offset by
increased activity at other times, when wallabies alternated browsing and feeding with
the adoption of alert postures, increased locomotory activity, more grooming and a
greater number of social interactions.
These findings were used as a basis from which were developed principles of best
practice in the captive management of Bennett's wallabies and other macropodoids.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Red-necked wallaby, Red-necked wallaby
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:52
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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