Habitat suitability and movement modelling for an increasing population of wild deer in Wollongong, NSW


Oskar Sebben

Thesis submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements of the Bachelor of Biological Sciences (Honours) in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong 2020.


To address the needs of pest managers within the Wollongong region, this thesis aimed to predict the distribution of potentially suitable habitat, and movement corridors through modelling as well as estimate the relative population density, to better understand the local population and to create assumptions regarding the likelihood of these models to be filled within the residential areas of Wollongong.

With the understanding that the wild deer population is increasing, the distribution of suitable habitat and movement corridors were discussed. These discussions explored areas that are likely to refuge and facilitate the movement of invading wild deer, and therefore the locations that might be suitable to concentrate pest management efforts. The locations suited for pest management efforts are likely to vary over temporal scales and spatial contexts. However, it was suggested that an exploitation of both refuge and foraging habitats occurs to produce a ‘landscape of fear’ which can reduce habitat occupancies and dispersal. Improvements and recommendations to alter the faecal pellet sampling procedure were also provided to reduce the likely influence of accumulated faecal pellets and sampler bias. Overall, the refuge habitat, forage habitat and movement models showed that Wollongong has a high suitability for an increasing population of wild deer.

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