The Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a declared alien pest species on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, where it is implicated in a range of social problems and potential ecological impacts. To inform the management of feral peafowl, we aimed to (1) provide an estimate of peafowl distribution and abundance (2) measure peafowl home ranges (3) calculate the area of suitable peafowl habitat and (4) estimate how the population could change under various culling scenarios. Using expert and landholder surveys, we estimated that ~380 individuals (range 330428) were distributed among 21 separate groups on Kangaroo Island. Habitat suitability modelling identified native vegetation near agriculture as the preferred peafowl habitat and indicated that substantial unoccupied suitable habitat is available. The mean home range of eight peafowl was 52ha and one dispersal event of 4.5km demonstrated that unoccupied suitable habitat could feasibly be colonised. Demographic models indicated that, if unmanaged, the peafowl population could exceed 2000 individuals after 10 years, but that culling ~85 individuals annually could maintain the current population size. We therefore suggest that control of the Kangaroo Island peafowl population is warranted while the current distribution of peafowl is well understood.
Australian Journal of Zoology – CSIRO Publishing
Published: Jul 21, 2016