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Comparison of ranging behaviour in a multi-species complex of free-ranging hosts of bovine tuberculosis in relation to their use as disease sentinels

  • I. J. YOCKNEY (a1), G. NUGENT (a1), M. C. LATHAM (a1), M. PERRY (a1), M. L. CROSS (a1) and A. E. BYROM (a1)...

Summary

Sentinel species are increasingly used by disease managers to detect and monitor the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in wildlife populations. Characterizing home-range movements of sentinel hosts is thus important for developing improved disease surveillance methods, especially in systems where multiple host species co-exist. We studied ranging activity of major hosts of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in an upland habitat of New Zealand: we compared home-range coverage by ferrets (Mustela furo), wild deer (Cervus elaphus), feral pigs (Sus scrofa), brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and free-ranging farmed cattle (Bos taurus). We also report in detail the proportional utilization of a seasonal (4-monthly) range area for the latter four species. Possums covered the smallest home range (<30 ha), ferrets covered ∼100 ha, pigs ∼4 km2, deer and cattle both >30 km2. For any given weekly period, cattle, deer and pigs were shown to utilize 37–45% of their estimated 4-month range, while possums utilized 62% during any weekly period and 85% during any monthly period of their estimated 4-month range. We suggest that present means for estimating TB detection kernels, based on long-term range size estimates for possums and sentinel species, probably overstate the true local surveillance coverage per individual.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr G. Nugent, Landcare Research, PO Box 40, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand. (Email: nugentg@landcareresearch.co.nz)

References

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Comparison of ranging behaviour in a multi-species complex of free-ranging hosts of bovine tuberculosis in relation to their use as disease sentinels

  • I. J. YOCKNEY (a1), G. NUGENT (a1), M. C. LATHAM (a1), M. PERRY (a1), M. L. CROSS (a1) and A. E. BYROM (a1)...

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