ABSTRACT

Many invasive species have had negative effects on the Australian environment, including the introduced Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor). However, there is a paucity of information on the factors influencing the fine scale distribution and abundance patterns of Sambar Deer in south-eastern Australia. We present the results of a field survey of Sambar Deer in the Critically Endangered Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of the Central Highlands, Victoria. Our key question was: What factors influence detections of Sambar deer (based on scat counts) within the Mountain Ash forests of the Victorian Central Highlands? We surveyed 86 long-term field sites and detected a total of 245 groups of Sambar Deer pellets on 42% of these sites. Negative binomial regression modelling identified three factors associated with the occurrence of deer pellets. We recorded more pellets: (1) in 30 and 80 year old forest that remained unburned in fires that occurred in 2009, (2) on sites within closed National Parks relative to sites in State Forest, and (3) close to streams.

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Author notes

+ Deceased