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Plague of kangaroos threatens one of Australia's last remaining original native grasslands
Date:5/21/2008

the perfect hiding place - the lizards can even survive bush fires in them. However, they are not very mobile and risk falling victim to the changes in the landscape. In genetic studies, Dr Marion Höhn investigates whether the grassland earless dragon populations interact with one another: "If not, there is a risk in the longer term that inbreeding could lead to the extinction of these tiny populations". However, first of all they need to survive the coming years. For this they need sufficient food supply in the form of insects, which depend on diverse grass and forb species and adequate vegetation structure.

The new postdoctoral study being conducted by Dr. Christina Castellano and supported by the Canberra National Airport aims directly to investigate the impacts of kangaroo and livestock grazing on the survival of earless dragons. Current actions of culling the overabundant kangaroo populations will provide researchers from both institutes the opportunity to study the impacts of grazing on the grassland fauna. To overcome the difficulties of fenced military areas and large numbers of kangaroos, a number of research projects in Canberra have been looking for efficient birth control methods for kangaroos. Recently, researchers have found regulatory mechanisms though it may be too late for many endangered and often overlooked species. This is why there appears to be no alternative at present to reducing the population of kangaroos through culling in order to protect the sensitive flora and fauna on the outskirts of the Australian capital.


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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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