Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Departments/Programs

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Liv Baker Van de Graaff

Second Advisor

Dr. Diana Reiss

Academic Program Adviser

Dr. Diana Reiss

Abstract

Despite their iconic status, kangaroo spp. are often treated as pests in Australia due to perceived abundance and extensive grazing behaviors. With growing suburbanization, animals such as kangaroo spp., are forced to inhabit human-dominated areas. Little research has been done examining how different aspects of human-induced disturbance can varyingly affect the behavior of wild animals. Specifically, this study examined how varyingly-disturbed areas affect behaviors such as vigilance, foraging, joey emergence during the in/out stage of pouch emergence, and play in three eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) populations. Results suggest that acute environmental disturbances (e.g., dogs barking or cars passing by) do alter vigilance behavior. Vigilance behaviors and time spent foraging were significant predictors of disturbance, (F(5, 289) = 11.05, p< 0.000), with an R2 of 0.16. Surprisingly, more juveniles were observed out of pouch at the site with more frequent acute disruptions, but there were few counts of play observed. Results suggest that environmental disturbances do alter vigilance and foraging behavior, demonstrating that kangaroos will display more vigilant behavior in locations with more acute disturbances.

Available for download on Monday, December 20, 2021

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