Australian Wildlife Services partnered with the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and ACT Surveyor-Generals Office to produce a series maps depicting how the vegetation and landscape of Canberra might have been like before European settlement based on observations by early explorers and surveyors.
The maps are part of the the 2113: A Canberra Odyssey exhibition open at CMAG between Sat 13 July – Sun 3 November 2013.
Title: “The state of vegetation, waterways and the general landscape in the Canberra region c1813 based on observations by early explorers and surveyors”.
The maps were developed in reference to Bill Gammage’s book “The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia” with his interpretation of the Canberra Landscape under Aboriginal land management at the time of the first explorers as well as detailed surveyor maps produced by Robert Hoddle in 1832.
For more information see: http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/
AWS attended the World Indigenous Network (WIN) conference in Darwin in 26th-30th May 2013 to represent Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area, Northern Territory with Senior Ranger David Wongway and IPA Manager Tim Lander.
The WIN Conference Program has a comprehensive agenda on land and sea management issues towards building an enduring World Indigenous Network. The World Indigenous Network Conference Program will cover five themes with a range of topics that are relevant and engaging to Indigenous and Local Community land and sea managers from around the world.
An article was written in the Sydney Morning Herald about the conference. Senior David Ranger made it into the newspaper (see his photo here).
AWS visited the IPA Rangers from the Toogimbie IPA Hay, NSW and rangers at Nantawarrina IPA in South Australia to undertake some CyberTracker development and training between March and May 2013 as part of SEWPAC’s CyberTracker Program. We worked together to customise the GPS tracking program CyberTracker to fit the IPA work plan and needs. We developed sequences to GPS track feral animal and weed management, wildlife and birds, rainfall, fencing, cultural and burial site management, revegetation and seed collection, important plants, bushtucker, road maintenance, fire management, visitor management and more.
Australian Wildlife Services has contributed to the recently published, thought provoking book ‘Science Under Siege’ published by The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, November 2012.
The ‘Science Under Siege’ volume has many papers of interest regarding misuse or abuse of science in today’s society. Cooney et al. expose THINKK’s abuse of science in relation to kangaroo harvesting and Menna Jones exposes flaws in the way some ethics committees operate.
George Wilson and Jenny Smits contributed to the article “THINKK again: getting the facts straight on kangaroo harvesting and conservation” by R. Cooney, M. Archer, A. Baumber, P. Ampt, G. Wilson, J. Smits and G. Webb. The article can be downloaded here: THINKK again: getting the facts straight on kangaroo harvesting and conservation - PDF 237.41 kB - 2013-01-15 . The full publication, Science Under Siege, is available Open Access through the Royal Zoological Society of NSW, and the address for this is: http://rzsnsw.metapress.com/
AWS staff member, Jenny Smits, has been running around Canberra undertaking various volunteer surveys for the Canberra Ornithological Group and the CSIRO. Surveys include targeted surveys for superb parrots within areas touted to become new suburbs in Canberra’s north, and landscape connectivity surveys where the role of paddock trees are being assessed in the movement of birds across the landscape. Jenny Smits was also able to help Chris Davey assess the breeding Silver Gull population on Spiniker Island, Lake Burley Griffin, on 14 December.
Australian Wildlife Services and the Angas Downs IPA Rangers battled the 41 – 45 degree heat this November 2012 to undertake the annual reptile and small mammal surveys. Pitfall and funnel traps were used along 25 m fence lines, as well as active searches.
40-41 reptile species were recorded over a week and a half. No small mammals were captured, indicating a significant crash in populations after the recent boom. The surveys allow yearly monitoring of small mammal and reptile species on Angas Downs. So far, each trapping event has found additional species for Angas Downs’ reptile checklists. New species this year included Stimson’s Python, Jeweled Gecko, Burton Legless Lizard and a Woma (unconfirmed – black and white remote camera). See the photos for a taste.
A/Prof George Wilson from Australian Wildlife Services and also representing the Australian National University, presented a case study at the recent 2012 Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia in Melbourne, 3-7 December 2012. The presentation was entitled ‘Western Science in Support of Indigenous Objectives – a case study’.
This conference is the pre-eminent conference on ecology in Australia, bringing together ecologists from academic, government and non-government backgrounds. ESA 2012 provides a valuable forum for researcher, land managers and policy makers to share advances in ecology and their implications for understanding our biosphere. The broad objective of the conference was: Ecology: Fundamental Science of the Biosphere.
A/Professor George Wilson attended the 25th Annual Conference of the Australian Wildlife Management Society (AWMS) in Adelaide 27-29 November 2012. The program covered a wide range of topics, focusing on wildlife management and water, and arid wildlife management in a boom and bust system.
George Wilson and Jennifer Smits have authored a chapter in the recently published book: ‘Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia-Pacific‘. The chapter is entitled
Indigenous land use and conservation in the Anangu lands of central Australia (Chapter 6)
In an increasingly crowded world reconciling environmental ‘conservation’ with the ‘sustainable use’ of natural resources is now our greatest challenge. Nature conservation has traditionally focused on protecting iconic and important areas of biodiversity from human exploitation through the establishment of National Parks and World Heritage Areas. While this is essential, a narrow focus on protected area conservation risks overlooking local needs in areas where people and natural systems must co-exist.
This book addresses some key questions for the sustainable use of natural environments: What should be conserved and who decides? Is ‘use’ compatible with conservation, and under what circumstances? Are trade-offs between conservation and development necessary? How do we find those elusive ‘win-win’ solutions?
The Chapter 6 examines aspects of, and obstacles to, Indigenous wildlife management in Australia, focused on management by the Anangu people in central Australia.
Reviews: ‘This book covers an extraordinary range of issues in a way that is both compelling and readable. Can there be a more important topic?’ – Robyn Williams, ABC Science Unit.
Annual aerial survey monitoring was conducted on Angas Downs IPA in July 2012. These surveys complement surveys also conducted in 2010 & 2011. IPA Rangers and Jennifer Smits (AWS) counted animals seen at low level and 200 m on either side of the aircraft. Species targeted /observed included camels, kangaroos, horses and cattle.
These studies are vital to understanding populations of kangaroos and pressures from camel and horse populations on the property and hence native wildlife. Some results are published below. No significant increase or decrease in any of the surveyed species was recorded between 2010-2012.
Since Angas Downs is such a vast area to survey, the variance and error of the datasets collected make it difficult to assess any significant change in the estimated population density. Good thing is Malu (red kangaroo) populations appear to be stable, and feral populations of horses and camels are appear to be decreasing (or not significantly increasing), undoubtedly due to the management actions of the IPA rangers. Densities of red kangaroos across Angas were estimated at 1.02 per sq km in 2010, and 1.13 per sq km in 2012. It was found that the southern area of the property was much more productive and watered, and supported more head of kangaroos than the northern sand dunes. Hence the aerial surveys were split in the north and south for 2012.
A report is being finalised and will be available soon. For more information on past Aerial surveys click here.