Spatial Requirements of Free-Ranging Huon Tree Kangaroos, Dendrolagus matschiei (Macropodidae), in Upper Montane Forest

Porolak, Gabriel, Dabek, Lisa, and Krockenberger, Andrew K. (2014) Spatial Requirements of Free-Ranging Huon Tree Kangaroos, Dendrolagus matschiei (Macropodidae), in Upper Montane Forest. PLoS ONE, 9 (3). e91870. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Tree kangaroos (Macropodidae, Dendrolagus) are some of Australasia's least known mammals. However, there is sufficient evidence of population decline and local extinctions that all New Guinea tree kangaroos are considered threatened. Understanding spatial requirements is important in conservation and management. Expectations from studies of Australian tree kangaroos and other rainforest macropodids suggest that tree kangaroos should have small discrete home ranges with the potential for high population densities, but there are no published estimates of spatial requirements of any New Guinea tree kangaroo species. Home ranges of 15 Huon tree kangaroos, Dendrolagus matschiei, were measured in upper montane forest on the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. The home range area was an average of 139.6±26.5 ha (100% MCP; n = 15) or 81.8±28.3 ha (90% harmonic mean; n = 15), and did not differ between males and females. Home ranges of D. matschiei were 40–100 times larger than those of Australian tree kangaroos or other rainforest macropods, possibly due to the impact of hunting reducing density, or low productivity of their high altitude habitat. Huon tree kangaroos had cores of activity within their range at 45% (20.9±4.1 ha) and 70% (36.6±7.5 ha) harmonic mean isopleths, with little overlap (4.8±2.9%; n = 15 pairs) between neighbouring females at the 45% isopleth, but, unlike the Australian species, extensive overlap between females (20.8±5.5%; n = 15 pairs) at the complete range (90% harmonic mean). Males overlapped each other and females to a greater extent than did pairs of females. From core areas and overlap, the density of female D. matschiei was one per 19.4 ha. Understanding the cause of this low density is crucial in gaining greater understanding of variations in density of tree kangaroos across the landscape. We consider the potential role of habitat fragmentation, productivity and hunting pressure in limiting tree kangaroo density in New Guinea rainforests.

Item ID: 33165
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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© 2014 Porolak et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: National Geographic Society (USA), Conservation International, Woodland Park Zoo, Roger Williams Park Zoo, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:44
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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