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Predation by snakes thwarts trial reintroduction of the Endangered woma python Aspidites ramsayi

  • J. L. Read (a1), G. R. Johnston (a2) and T. P. Morley (a3)
Abstract

Case studies of well-documented snake reintroductions are limited, despite their potential value for conservation and ecosystem recovery. The Endangered woma Aspidites ramsayi is a large boid snake that has declined considerably and is now threatened throughout much of central Australia. We describe a trial release of captive-bred womas into the feral predator-free Arid Recovery Reserve in northern South Australia. All of the reintroduced womas were killed within 4 months, with predation by the mulga snake Pseudechis australis confirmed or implied in all cases. Lessons learned for the conditioning of captive-bred snakes for wild release and the role of the mulga snake in structuring Australian arid-zone snake assemblages are discussed.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Arid Recovery, G.P.O. Box 150, Roxby Downs, South Australia 5725, Australia, and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. E-mail john.read@adelaide.edu.au
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