Day 2 this #ScienceWeek we focus on #carnivore ecology and #conservation, particularly #HumanWildlifeConflict, a major contributor to biodiversity decline, and consequently a focus for our #science team. PC: Bobby-Jo Vial. Image
We’ll cover some of the core #science projects that Taronga has established or contributed to, highlighting how science-based solutions and evidence-based approaches to #conservation are critical.
In a conjoint role with @CES_UNSW, Taronga’s Conservation Biologist, Dr Neil Jordan (@HWConflict) works in #HumanWildlifeConflict and management, focusing on the #ecology and #conservation of African #carnivores and #dingoes, Australia’s own apex terrestrial carnivore.
Taronga collaborates with @CES_UNSW and @BPCTcamp on some of these projects, and @NSWDPIE on others, all of which align closely with Taronga’s 360degree approach to #conservation. But let’s back up first, and have a look at the issue.
What is #humanwildlifeconflict, or #HWC for short? Conflicts are essentially any direct human-wildlife interactions with adverse outcomes. They can range from nesting birds disturbed by dogwalkers in an urban park, to #lions eating people’s cattle. PC: Bobby-Jo Vial Image
#HWC threatens lives and livelihoods, costs billions of dollars annually to manage, and is a leading cause of #biodiversityloss. There are significant differences in how the costs of living alongside wildlife are shared, across global, national and local scales.
Communities living on the edge of protected areas in developing countries in particular bear a large proportion of #coexistence costs, and these costs can be substantial. This paper by Taronga’s @HWConflict & collaborators discusses this… PC: Bobby-Jo Vial Image
#HumanWildlifeConflict is a widespread and divisive issue, requiring diverse interventions and management strategies.

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More from @tarongazoo

21 Aug
Taronga’s marine scientists, in collaboration with Macquarie Uni & others internationally, are investigating the effects of pulsed electric fields on #shark physiology & behavior to deliver innovative improvements in deterrents to save the lives of people & #sharks. #ScienceWeek
This @ARC_gov_au funded project builds on a previous ARC LP by this team that uncovered information on #shark vision and demonstrated the effectiveness of counter-illumination (light emitting) devices in deterring shark attacks
The new project (late 2020>) will test the effectiveness of existing & improved personal deterrents against attacks from white, bull & tiger #sharks. This should reduce fatalities by increasing device-use, while also reducing the need for indiscriminate meshing/culling programs.
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
Taronga scientists also manage the Australian #Shark Attack File (ASAF). This long-term database & resource provides valuable insights on incidents and the effectiveness of possible deterrents. #ScienceWeek….
Research using ASAF data led by Laura Ryan with Taronga’s Dr David Slip, Macquarie University, DPI and UNSW scientists, generated predictive models for #shark attacks in Australian waters based on environmental conditions. .…
This paper identified rainfall & sea surface temperature anomaly as key predictors, and is of great value in designing a potential warning system platform that can allow water users to make more informed decisions before entering the water.
Read 6 tweets
21 Aug
As Taronga’s Research & #Conservation Coordinator, & a marine biologist specializing in #ConservationGenetics, Dr Jo Day, wears many hats – & most are waterproof! Jo’s work covers many areas & species, including the little-known Port Jackson #shark... #MarineScience #ScienceWeek
Data from GPS and accelerometer tags fitted to Taronga zoo-based Port Jackson #sharks allowed the team to identify resting & active swimming, as well as feeding behaviour.
Using fine and broad scale #MovementEcology data from these Port Jackson #sharks, #MachineLearning models allowed the team to identify these key behaviours in this elusive #marine #shark species.…
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
Getting lost in the crowd can be a problem when you’re an #endangered sea lion pup. Taronga behavioural ecologist @PitcherBen & collaborators are decoding #Australian #sealion communication to understand how mothers and pups recognise each other in a busy colony #ScienceWeek
Australian sea lions use a combination of sound, sight and smell to communicate and recognise their pups. Mothers can use the size and colour patterns in pup coats to help located their offspring in a colony… @RSocPublishing #AnimalCommunication
Smell is critical to recognition. Mums will smell pups they encounter while searching the colony to confirm which pup is their own offspring. Each sea lion has a unique smell and mums learn the odour of their pup… #AnimalCommunication
Read 5 tweets
20 Aug
Taronga is also reminding #RegentHoneyeaters how to tweet! Their song has been changing, perhaps due to small fragmented populations &reduced opportunity to learn from adults. Taronga keepers began playing songs to juvenile birds to teach them the right ones to sing. #ScienceWeek
Results are showing that #RegentHoneyeaters that were tutored to sing, either directly by adult birds or by virtual tutoring, had a better chance of surviving in the wild.
We’re now working with researchers at ANU to understand how best to teach birds to sing and why song is important to survival…
Read 4 tweets
20 Aug
The #RegentHoneyeater is one of Australia’s most #CriticallyEndangered birds. There are <350 birds left in the wild. For >20y, Taronga has been #ConservationBreeding an insurance population. Since 2008, >300 birds have been released to bolster wild populations. #ScienceWeek
#RegentHoneyeaters are in decline due to threats from #habitatloss and degradation. #Drought, #bushfire, competition, and now even the precariously small size of the remaining population all pose risks to the species’ survival.
Our team of #RegentHoneyeater keepers are experts in #ConservationBreeding these amazing birds. Here specialist keeper Kara Stevens explains our progress at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
Read 6 tweets

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