University of Tasmania
whole_ChapmanMichelleElizabeth2003_thesis.pdf (43.38 MB)

The social behaviour and captive management of Bennett's wallabies, Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:47 authored by Chapman, Michelle E.(Michelle Elizabeth)
The Bennett's wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus, is frequently exhibited in wildlife parks and zoos in Australia and overseas. The social behaviour of the Bennett's wallaby was investigated and its role in developing captive management strategies was considered. A questionnaire was mailed to 31 wildlife parks and zoos within Australia and New Zealand to collect information on current husbandry practices and to provide a basis for experimental manipulations of a captive group. A comprehensive behavioural inventory was compiled using observations of captive Bennett's wallabies at Bonorong Wildlife Park and the University of Tasmania, as well as wild wallabies at Coal Mines Nature Reserve on the Tasman Peninsula and Mt Field National Park in south-eastern Tasmania. Wallabies at the university enclosure devoted the greatest portion of both the day and night time browsing or attending feeding stations, although more time was devoted to browsing during the day and feeding at night.. Alert postures were sustained for longer periods during the day than at night. These activities were alternated with long and frequent periods of resting. Social interactions of any kind were rarely observed, particularly during the daytime. The collection of Bennett's wallabies established at the University of Tasmania were utilised in experimental manipulations examining the effects of varying the number and position of feeding stations available, stocking rates and the age and gender of group members on the frequencies of performing elements of behaviour and occupying sectors of the enclosure. When four feeders were spaced throughout the 1000 m2 of the enclosure wallabies occupied more sectors, were more active and interacted significantly more often than when feeders were positioned near to each other or their numbers reduced. When stocked at rates of three, six or nine animals per 1000 m2 , wallabies were more visible and active and interacted amicably more frequently at the medium stocking rate than at other times. When more adults were included in the captive group than members of other age classes, the proportion of time that wallabies were hidden from view in refuges within enclosure vegetation slightly increased but was offset by increased activity at other times, when wallabies alternated browsing and feeding with the adoption of alert postures, increased locomotory activity, more grooming and a greater number of social interactions. These findings were used as a basis from which were developed principles of best practice in the captive management of Bennett's wallabies and other macropodoids.


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Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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