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Title: Diet of mala ('Lagorchestes hirsutus') at Ulu-r̲u-Kata Tju-t̲a National Park and comparison with that of historic free-ranging mala in the Tanami Desert: Implications for management and future reintroductions
Contributor(s): Clayton, Jim (author); Pavey, Chris R (author); Vernes, Karl A (author)orcid ; Jefferys, Elizabeth (author)
Publication Date: 2015
DOI: 10.1071/AM14033
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Abstract: Lack of information regarding the ecology of threatened species may compromise conservation efforts. Mala, a small macropod that historically inhabited a vast area of arid Australia, became extinct in the wild in 1991. Although dietary studies were completed before their disappearance from the Tanami Desert, no such work was conducted in the southern Northern Territory before mala became extinct in this part of its former range. The reintroduction of mala to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park provided an opportunity for dietary analysis of faecal pellets. Results show that mala foraged a wide variety of plant species, although grasses and supplementary food comprised the bulk of the diet. Neither the average percentage of Poaceae, 'Triodia' in particular, nor supplementary food found in pellet samples was correlated with rainfall. Niche breadth analysis showed a narrow dietary range for both the Tanami and Uluru studies. Mala at both locations selected similar types of plants, plant parts, and several of the same species. Results suggest that food species 'Aristida holathera' and 'Eragrostis eriopoda' should be monitored to assist in determining the carrying capacity of the Uluru enclosure. A botanically diverse reintroduction site supporting 'Eragrostis', 'Aristida' and 'Triodia' appears to be most suitable for mala.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Mammalogy, 37(2), p. 201-211
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Clayton, Australia
ISSN: 0310-0049
Field of Research (FOR): 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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