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Managers of urban wildlife must make transparent, quantitative decisions about environmental impacts but are challenged by the complexity of these impacts, which can interact with environmental variability to cause long-term changes. Here I use population viability analysis (PVA) to exemplify its potential in urban wildlife management, modelling the endangered population of long-nosed bandicoots at North Head. An “off the shelf” software package, VORTEX, was used to model data on population size, animal life span, reproduction rates, litter size, and mortality rates to simulate the population's dynamics over time, taking into account fluctuations in these parameters due to environmental conditions. Various management options for the long-term recovery and potential impacts of urban development were then modelled by varying adult mortality and carrying capacity.

The bandicoot population was highly sensitive to increases in adult mortality. Under the basic model, with a 30% chance of fox arrival each year and the carrying capacity of the headland at 120 bandicoots, the population had a 10% chance of going extinct within 20 years due to chance events. When adult mortality was increased to 11%, 14% and 16% the probability of extinction by 2020 increased to 15%, 24% and 32% respectively. If the carrying capacity of the headland is increased (to 200 animals), elevated adult mortality had a much lower impact on the chances of extinction (6%, 9% and 15% for the 3 levels of mortality). However, if development reduces the carrying capacity (to 75 individuals on the headland), elevated adult mortality leads to increased chances of extinction in 20 years to 31%, 42% and 46% for the 3 levels. Hence the model showed that for bandicoots, managing the byproducts of urbanisation, such as road kills or predation by pets is more immediately important than small changes in habitat availability, but the effects are additive. More generally, the exercise showed how PVA can be used to avoid subjective and short sighted assessment of management decisions to provide a quantitative comparison of a complex network of management options.

Banks, P. B. and Powell, F. 2002 An analysis of the NSW NPWS North Head Long-nosed Bandicoot monitoring program: A report for the NPWS Central Directorate Threatened Species Unit. Unpublished report, NPWS.
Brook, B. W., O'Grady, J. J., Chapman, A. P., Burgman, M. A., Akcakaya, H. R. and Frankham R. 2000. Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology. Nature 404: 385-387.
Chambers, L. K. 1991. Habitat selection by the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Peramelidae: Marsupialia) at North Head, NSW, University of Sydney.
Chambers, L. K. and Dickman, C. R. 2002. Habitat selection of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Mammalia: Peramelidae), in a patchy urban environment. Austral Ecology 27: 334-342.
Clark, T. W., Gibbs, J. P. and Goldstraw, P. W. 1995. Some demographics of the extirpation from the wild of eastern barred bandicoots ( Perameles gunnii) in 1988-1991, near Hamilton, Victoria, Australia. Wildlife Research 22: 289-297.
Coulson, T., Mace, G. M., Huson, E. and Possingham, H. P. 2001. The use and abuse of population viability analysis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16: 219-221.
Dufty, A. C. 1991. Some population characteristics of Perameles gunnii in Victoria. Wildlife Research 18: 355-366.
Hamilton, S. and Moller, H. 1995. Can PVA models using computer packages offer useful conservation advice? Sooty Shearwaters Puffinus griseus in New Zealand as a case study. Biological Conservation 73: 107-117.
Lacy, R. C. 1993. Vortex: a computer simulation model for population viability analysis. Wildlife Research 20: 45-65.
Lacy, R. C. and Clark, T. W. 1990. Population viability analysis of the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria. Pp. 131-146 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations, edited by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck. Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Lindenmayer, D. B. and Possingham, H. P. 1996. Ranking conservation and timber management options for Leadbeater's Possum in southeastern Australia using population viability analysis. Conservation Biology 10: 235-251.
Maguire, L. A., Lacy, R. C., Begg, R. J., and Clark, T. W. 1990. An analysis of alternative strategies for recovering the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria. Pp. 147-164 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations (ed. by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck). Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Mallick, S. A., Driessen, M. M. and Hocking, G. J. 2000. Demography and home range of the eastern barred bandicoot ( Perameles gunnii) in south-eastern Tasmania. Wildlife Research 27: 103-115.
Manidis Robert Consultants 2000 North Head Quarantine Station Conservation and Adaptive Re-Use: EIS. Manidis Roberts Consultants.
McCarthy, M. A., Possingham, H. P., Day, J. R. and Tyre, A. J. 2000. Testing the accuracy of population viability analysis. Conservation Biology 15: 1030-1038.
Miller, R. W. 1997 Preliminary Population Viability Analysis of the Perameles nasuta population at North Head, NSW. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Miller, R. W. and Puddephatt, J. 1996. Population biology of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta, at North Head, Sydney, NSW. Unpublished thesis, University of Sydney.
Minta, S. C., Clark, T. W., and Goldstraw, P. 1990. Population estimates and characteristics of the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria with recommendations for population modelling. Pp. 47-76 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations edited by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck. Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Possingham, H. P. 1993. A framework for the improved management of threatened species based on PVA. Pacific Conservation Biology 1: 39-45.
Ravallion, J. 2000. Review of the monitoring component of the recovery plan for the endangered long-nosed bandicoot ( Perameles nasuta) population at North Head, Manly, NSW. Unpublished report, Macquarie University
Scott, L. K. 1995a. Nutritional ecology and population biology of the Long-nosed Bandicoot, Perameles nasuta: Implications for conservation, University of Sydney
Scott, L. K. 1995b. Preliminary report on the long-nosed bandicoot population at the Quarantine Station, North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Institute of Wildlife Research, University of Sydney.
Scott, L. K., Hume, I. D. and Dickman, C. R. 1999. Ecology and population biology of the long-nosed bandicoots ( Perameles nasuta) at North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Wildlife Research 26: 805-821.
Todd, C. R., Jenkins, S. and Bearlin, A. R. 2002. Lessons about extinction and translocation: models for the eastern barred bandicoots ( Perameles gunnii) at Woodlands Historic Park, Victoria, Australia. Biological Conservation 106: 211-223.
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Banks, P. B. and Powell, F. 2002 An analysis of the NSW NPWS North Head Long-nosed Bandicoot monitoring program: A report for the NPWS Central Directorate Threatened Species Unit. Unpublished report, NPWS.
Brook, B. W., O'Grady, J. J., Chapman, A. P., Burgman, M. A., Akcakaya, H. R. and Frankham R. 2000. Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology. Nature 404: 385-387.
Chambers, L. K. 1991. Habitat selection by the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Peramelidae: Marsupialia) at North Head, NSW, University of Sydney.
Chambers, L. K. and Dickman, C. R. 2002. Habitat selection of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Mammalia: Peramelidae), in a patchy urban environment. Austral Ecology 27: 334-342.
Clark, T. W., Gibbs, J. P. and Goldstraw, P. W. 1995. Some demographics of the extirpation from the wild of eastern barred bandicoots ( Perameles gunnii) in 1988-1991, near Hamilton, Victoria, Australia. Wildlife Research 22: 289-297.
Coulson, T., Mace, G. M., Huson, E. and Possingham, H. P. 2001. The use and abuse of population viability analysis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16: 219-221.
Dufty, A. C. 1991. Some population characteristics of Perameles gunnii in Victoria. Wildlife Research 18: 355-366.
Hamilton, S. and Moller, H. 1995. Can PVA models using computer packages offer useful conservation advice? Sooty Shearwaters Puffinus griseus in New Zealand as a case study. Biological Conservation 73: 107-117.
Lacy, R. C. 1993. Vortex: a computer simulation model for population viability analysis. Wildlife Research 20: 45-65.
Lacy, R. C. and Clark, T. W. 1990. Population viability analysis of the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria. Pp. 131-146 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations, edited by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck. Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Lindenmayer, D. B. and Possingham, H. P. 1996. Ranking conservation and timber management options for Leadbeater's Possum in southeastern Australia using population viability analysis. Conservation Biology 10: 235-251.
Maguire, L. A., Lacy, R. C., Begg, R. J., and Clark, T. W. 1990. An analysis of alternative strategies for recovering the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria. Pp. 147-164 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations (ed. by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck). Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Mallick, S. A., Driessen, M. M. and Hocking, G. J. 2000. Demography and home range of the eastern barred bandicoot ( Perameles gunnii) in south-eastern Tasmania. Wildlife Research 27: 103-115.
Manidis Robert Consultants 2000 North Head Quarantine Station Conservation and Adaptive Re-Use: EIS. Manidis Roberts Consultants.
McCarthy, M. A., Possingham, H. P., Day, J. R. and Tyre, A. J. 2000. Testing the accuracy of population viability analysis. Conservation Biology 15: 1030-1038.
Miller, R. W. 1997 Preliminary Population Viability Analysis of the Perameles nasuta population at North Head, NSW. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Miller, R. W. and Puddephatt, J. 1996. Population biology of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta, at North Head, Sydney, NSW. Unpublished thesis, University of Sydney.
Minta, S. C., Clark, T. W., and Goldstraw, P. 1990. Population estimates and characteristics of the eastern barred bandicoot in Victoria with recommendations for population modelling. Pp. 47-76 in Management and Conservation of Small Populations edited by T. W. Clark and J. H. Seebeck. Chicago Zoological Society: Brookfield, Illinois.
Possingham, H. P. 1993. A framework for the improved management of threatened species based on PVA. Pacific Conservation Biology 1: 39-45.
Ravallion, J. 2000. Review of the monitoring component of the recovery plan for the endangered long-nosed bandicoot ( Perameles nasuta) population at North Head, Manly, NSW. Unpublished report, Macquarie University
Scott, L. K. 1995a. Nutritional ecology and population biology of the Long-nosed Bandicoot, Perameles nasuta: Implications for conservation, University of Sydney
Scott, L. K. 1995b. Preliminary report on the long-nosed bandicoot population at the Quarantine Station, North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Institute of Wildlife Research, University of Sydney.
Scott, L. K., Hume, I. D. and Dickman, C. R. 1999. Ecology and population biology of the long-nosed bandicoots ( Perameles nasuta) at North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Wildlife Research 26: 805-821.
Todd, C. R., Jenkins, S. and Bearlin, A. R. 2002. Lessons about extinction and translocation: models for the eastern barred bandicoots ( Perameles gunnii) at Woodlands Historic Park, Victoria, Australia. Biological Conservation 106: 211-223.
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