Category: Ecological Monitoring and Surveys
Australian Wildlife Services undertook bird and vegetation surveys on Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in April. Toogimbie are using their cultural access licence (water) as well as revegetation and pest management strategies to rehabilitate their wetlands. The wetlands have cultural and environmental significance in the region. Surveys focused on birds and wetland vegetation, in particular setting up of long-term monitoring transects and collection of baseline data. The Toogimbie Rangers will then be able to repeat the surveys over time to show environmental change as a result of their land management activities. Opportunistic records of frogs were also collected. Further surveys are still needed in bats, reptiles, mammals and water quality pending funding. Indigenous Protected Areas across Australia need more scientific support to undertake a range of environmental improvement activities. More information on Toogimbie IPA and the Nari Nari Tribal Council.By
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.By
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.By
facebook page for more info and photos.Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) student volunteers visited Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area in Sept 2012 to help undertake reptile, bird, track and mammal surveys. The students were helped by Australian Wildlife Services' Jenny Smits to learn the various survey techniques. The field trip was part of CIT Diploma in Ecology course 'Field Studies'. Well done to all, a hugely successful trip for us. See the By
ABC Country Hour also reported on Angas' use of remote cameras - click here for transcript and audio.
Local NT ABC Radio reporter Caddie Brain interviews Dr George Wilson, Australian Wildlife Services about kangaroos on Angas Downs IPA... Click here for the transcript and to listen to the story. " The team from Angas Downs Station are working hard to increase red kangaroo numbers on the former pastoral property. Rangers are reinstalling water points, undertaking aerial surveying and developing the facilities to become a release site for recovering roos who have fallen on some back luck (fenced roo enclosure). Dr Wilson says the roo enclosure will became an educational tool and tourist attraction. "It's amazing, there's very few places in Australia where tourists can reliably see red kangaroos in the wild yet it's our national emblem. But the display is only part of a broader land management strategy to increase numbers on the property." "Eventually, with the support of the local Indigenous community, we'll develop a sustainable hunting regime. This property is here to blend their continuing traditional needs with science."By
Buffel grass presence / absence surveys began in June 2012 on Angas Downs IPA. The survey can be redone next year to show how buffel is expanding or not. It will be interesting to see how quickly it takes to increase from a few plants to a dense patch. If a fast increase in plant density is shown, controlling single plants may be beneficial. The rangers drive the tracks and roads and enter into Cybertracker where they see single plants, a few plants or dense patches. The survey will be finished in July 2012.By