Journal article

Monitoring, imperfect detection, and risk optimization of a Tasmanian devil insurance population

Tracy M Rout, Christopher M Baker, Stewart Huxtable, Brendan A Wintle



Most species are imperfectly detected during biological surveys, which creates uncertainty around their abundance or presence at a given location. Decision makers managing threatened or pest species are regularly faced with this uncertainty. Wildlife diseases can drive species to extinction; thus, managing species with disease is an important part of conservation. Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) is one such disease that led to the listing of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) as endangered. Managers aim to maintain devils in the wild by establishing disease-free insurance populations at isolated sites. Often a resident DFTD-affected population must first be removed. In a successful..

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Awarded by ARC Future Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Environmental Decisions Hub of the National Environmental Research Program (NERP). T.M.R. and B.W. were supported by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP). B.W. was supported by ARC Future Fellowship (FT100100819). C.M.B. is the recipient of a John Stocker Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is an initiative of the Tasmanian and Australian governments and is funded by The Tasmanian Government, the Australian Government, and the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal. Collection of the data used in this paper would not be possible without the support of Forestry Tasmania, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, Bangor Farm, and other landholders and land-managers of the Forestier Peninsula. Reintroduced devils were bred in captivity by the Captive Management Section, DPIPWE and member organizations of the Zoo and Aquarium Association. Thanks to D. Pemberton for comments and B. Lazenby and C. van Rossum for contributing to an earlier version of this work.