Investigating responses to control: a comparison of common myna behaviour across areas of high and low trapping pressure
Harvesting of wildlife by humans is commonly known to impact target species’ demography, life history and behaviour. Yet in the context of invasive and pest species control, behavioural shifts have received very little attention. The introduced common myna, Acridotheres tristis, is undergoing intensive control efforts in some areas of its Australian distribution. In order to investigate whether myna populations respond to harvesting, we compared the behaviour of free-ranging common mynas in areas of high and low trapping pressure. Behavioural analyses revealed that mynas in high trapping risk areas stayed closer to refuges, tended to form smaller groups, and were overall less detectable. Behavioural differences between high and lowly trapped areas were not attributable to variation in population density. Overall, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that common mynas have the potential to adjust their behaviour in response to heightened anthropic risk in the environment. Behavioural shifts in invasive alien species could modify their ecological impact and may interfere not only with the effectiveness of control measures, but also with how their effectiveness is assessed. Future research should aim to isolate behavioural mechanisms underpinning compensatory responses to control so that any potential effects can be mitigated.
KeywordsWildlife harvesting Invasive species Detectability Wildlife management
We would like to thank all local government areas and volunteer groups who took time to answer our questionnaires and share their data, in particular the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group (CIMAG). We would also like to thank Nils Hedouin for his assistance with the fieldwork.
This work was financially supported by a grant from the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP) and by a scholarship from the Wyong Shire Council and the University of Newcastle.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Data available on www.figshare.com.
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