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Use of anthropogenic linear features by two medium-size carnivores in reserved and agricultural landscapes

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Andersen, GE, Johnson, CN ORCID: 0000-0002-9719-3771, Barmuta, LA ORCID: 0000-0002-8946-3727 and Jones, ME ORCID: 0000-0001-7558-9022 2017 , 'Use of anthropogenic linear features by two medium-size carnivores in reserved and agricultural landscapes' , Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11454-z.

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Abstract

Many carnivores are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. These changes create linear features and habitat edges that can facilitate foraging and/or travel. To understand the signifcance of anthropogenic linear features in the ecology of carnivores, fne-scaled studies are needed. We studied two medium-sized carnivores: the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the near threatened spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), in a mixed landscape of conservation and agricultural land. Using GPS tracking, we investigated their use of intact habitat versus linear features such as roads, fences and the pasture/cover interface. Both species showed a positive selection for anthropogenic linear features, using the pasture/cover interface for foraging and roads for movement and foraging. Devils travelled along fence lines, while quolls showed little preference for them. Otherwise, both species foraged in forest and travelled through pasture. While devils and quolls can utilise anthropogenic linear features, we suggest that their continued survival in these habitats may depend on the intensity of other threats, e.g. persecution, and providing that sufcient intact habitat remains to sustain their ecological needs. We suggest that the management of both species and probably many other species of carnivores should focus on controlling mortality factors associated with human use of landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Andersen, GE and Johnson, CN and Barmuta, LA and Jones, ME
Keywords: habitat fragmentation, behavioural ecology, carnivores
Journal or Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41598-017-11454-z
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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