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Novel Visual Lures for the Management of Brushtail Possums

  • Author(s): Ogilvie, Shaun C.
  • Sakata, Keisuke
  • Thomas, Malcolm D.
  • Maddigan, Fraser
  • et al.
Abstract

The successful management of vertebrate wildlife populations can be dependent on the availability of reliable monitoring methods, and, depending on the status of the species in question, effective methods of conservation or control. The brushtail possum, introduced to New Zealand from Australia, is considered New Zealand’s number one vertebrate pest. We assessed possum preferences for 3 types of visual lures and the potential use of this information for enhancing existing possum control technologies. Significantly more lures were interfered with by possums when the lures were associated with a luminescent strip, compared to lures that were plain white or UV-enhanced (P < 0.01 in both cases). In addition, more possums were killed when luminescent lures were attached to kill traps and bags of bait than when these devices were deployed without lures. This study has highlighted new information showing that luminescent lures could be a valuable new tool in the management of nocturnal marsupials, be they species considered pests (such as the brushtail possum in New Zealand), or species of conservation concern, such as many of Australia’s marsupial species.

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