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31 May 2019 Citizen reporting of wildlife interactions can improve impact-reduction programs and support wildlife carers
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Abstract

Context. Wildlife can be injured or orphaned through a range of (often anthropogenic) activities, creating need for volunteer rescuers and wildlife carers, of which a substantial number is active in Australia. However, the causes and contributing factors for rescued wildlife are rarely reported, which limits development of response options to these wildlife issues. An understanding of the distribution and number of rescuers and carers in relation to injured and orphaned wildlife allows training and outreach to be targeted around specific seasonal peaks, species and causes of injury.

Aims and methods. We conducted an analysis of 22 723 reports over 7 years to the Bonorong Wildlife Rescue Service in Tasmania, Australia, to determine the frequency of species and types of human–wildlife interaction, the report distances from the central facility, and the report distribution relative to the registered rescuer and carer networks.

Key results. Mammals accounted for over half of all reports, followed by birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Road trauma was the predominant cause for report, followed by orphans. Disease reports and animal attack were also common. Overall, reporting was highest in late spring and summer, but different seasonality in specific causes and species suggests that targeted response options are needed at different times of year. Areas with higher reporting relative to the number of registered rescuers and carers show where volunteer recruitment can be focussed.

Conclusions. We used a wildlife reporting dataset to illustrate trends (such as seasonality and species vulnerability) and causes of human–wildlife interaction to inform potential response options.

Implications. Continued citizen reporting can assist wildlife managers to allocate resources, plan training or recruit additional volunteers, track emerging issues, such as disease and climate-related stressors, and guide the planning of public education and mitigation initiatives, particularly for human-related wildlife issues.

© CSIRO 2019
Grace Heathcote, Alistair J. Hobday, Monique Spaulding, Melissa Gard, and Greg Irons "Citizen reporting of wildlife interactions can improve impact-reduction programs and support wildlife carers," Wildlife Research 46(5), 415-428, (31 May 2019). https://doi.org/10.1071/WR18127
Received: 8 August 2018; Accepted: 15 April 2019; Published: 31 May 2019
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