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Predation by red foxes limits recruitment in populations of eastern grey kangaroos



We investigated the impact of red fox (Vulpes vulpes Linnaeus 1758) predation on juvenile eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus Shaw 1790) using a replicated predator removal experiment. In two sites in Namadgi National Park, south-eastern Australia, a persistent 1080 poisoning campaign over 18 months reduced fox density by more than 85%, and to less than 10% of the fox density in two other sites with no fox baiting. Changes in the mother : young ratios and densities of kangaroo populations were monitored twice monthly along 2-km transects in each site from July 1993 to February 1995. Compared to nonremoval sites, where foxes were controlled, 25–40% more females retained juveniles over the period when these young became emergent from the pouch. This higher survival of emergent pouch young resulted in a significantly higher proportion of juveniles in kangaroo populations at fox control sites, which resulted in a significantly higher annual growth rate. We conclude that predation upon juveniles is an important limiting factor for kangaroo populations in Namadgi NP.

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