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Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia

Fordham, Damien A., Georges, Arthur, Corey, Ben and Brook, Barry W. (2006). Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia. Biological Conservation,133(3):379-388.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 23 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia
Author Fordham, Damien A.
Georges, Arthur
Corey, Ben
Brook, Barry W.
Journal Name Biological Conservation
Publication Date 2006
Volume Number 133
Issue Number 3
ISSN 0006-3207   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33749073802
Start Page 379
End Page 388
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Northern snake-necked turtles (Chelodina rugosa) traditionally provided an important seasonal source of protein for indigenous communities in Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Harvest techniques today differ little from those used historically, harvesting being applied in the late dry season when ephemeral waters have drawn down and turtles are aestivating. Radio-telemetry was used to quantify survival rates of C. rugosa at a traditional turtle harvest site and relate them to harvest, predation by feral pigs (Sus scrofa) and environmental factors. Although turtle survival was positively correlated with body size, the survival of turtles of all sizes and stages of maturity was compromised by pig predation. Seasonal variation in the onset, duration and severity of rainfall and associated influences on periodic drying, are important for C. rugosa survival because such variation influences the timing and intensity of both Aboriginal harvest and pig predation. Contemporary harvest rates of C. rugosa in Arnhem Land by Aboriginal people are very low because pig predation depletes available stocks immediately before Aboriginal harvesting. Aboriginal harvest rates are regulated also by the frequency and timing of ceremonies and other cultural activities that interfere with harvests. Before the arrival of pigs, such relaxation of harvest pressure in years when harvest would otherwise be possible would have contributed to the local abundance and persistence of C. rugosa. In contrast, pig predation is unrelenting, and years of high turtle survival are now restricted only to years of high wet season rainfall.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2006.07.001   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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