International Day of Biological Diversity 2014

The United Nations have proclaimed May 22 as International Day of Biological Diversity, (IDBD) to help increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.


IDB2014 Poster

The theme this year is “islands”. Island comprise unique, irreplaceable ecosystems, often with many species found nowhere else on earth. One-tenth of the world’s population live on an island, comprising some 600 million islanders. The conservation of the unique ecosystems are paramount to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of these people.

The Environment Institute is involved with important work to monitor and help reduce the rapid rate of biodiversity decline around the world.

Presented here is research by Associate Professor Phill Cassey and the Invasion Ecology group which focuses on Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island.

The presentation is entitled: ” The distribution and management of feral Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) on Kangaroo Island, South Australia”.

Abstract: The Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a widely-distributed pest bird species. Native to the Indian sub-continent, peafowl have established numerous feral populations in Australasia, USA and Hawaii, Europe, and South Africa. At high densities feral peafowl are habitat modifiers and a social nuisance, although their ecological impacts have been poorly documented. 20 On Kangaroo Island (South Australia) feral peafowl have established from uncontained domestic populations and are now widely dispersed in separate groups across the island. Previous peafowl management on Kangaroo Island has not been implemented in an evidence-based coordinated manner. In 2013 we conducted an Adelaide University Honours research project (C. Cunningham) to quantify the distribution and size of peafowl groups across Kangaroo Island, and to determine the suitability of habitat for future spread and expansion of the feral populations. We found that there is abundant unoccupied suitable habitat on Kangaroo Island and that, without management, the islandwide population is expected to substantially increase. Population modeling demonstrated that an annual cull of 150 birds would sufficiently reduce the island population, in six years, to realistic levels for achieving population eradication.

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