Journal article

Taste overshadows less salient cues to elicit food aversion in endangered marsupial

Ella Kelly, Ben L Phillips, Jonathan K Webb



Conditioned taste aversion is an emerging conservation tool that can be used to limit inter-species conflict, for example decreasing predation on endangered species, or limiting the consumption of invasive toxic prey. Typically, managers wish to elicit an aversion that will be associated with visual or odour cues so that the target species maintains an “arm's length” relationship, and does not have to attack or taste the prey. Combining multiple cues in conditioned taste aversion can cause cue overshadowing, so reducing the effectiveness of the training. Here, we examine the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a carnivorous marsupial threatened because they attack the toxic invasive cane t..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (LP150100722; FT160100198); Margaret Middleton Fund Award for Endangered Australian Native Vertebrate Animals (to E.K); and Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (to E.K). Thanks to Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland (Mareeba Wetlands), Mareeba Crocodile Farm, South Endeavour Trust and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group for access and assistance that facilitated the collection of quolls from Queensland. Also thanks to Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife, Kakadu National Park, Northern Land Council, the Marthakal Rangers, and Territory Wildlife Park for assistance with collection of quolls from Astell Island. We also wish to acknowledge the support of the Territory Wildlife Park with housing, husbandry and breeding of the quolls in captivity.