Category: Recent Activities

Toogimbie IPA & Nantawarrina IPA CyberTracker development

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By , May 14, 2013 4:05 pm
  Toogimbie Start Screen Nantawarrina Screen activitiesAWS 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. [Not a valid template]

Science Under Siege – Published by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales

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By , January 7, 2013 3:07 pm
Science Under Siege CoverAustralian 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 (1010 downloads) . 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/

Volunteer bird surveys in Canberra – Silver Gulls, Superb Parrots and CSIRO Tree watching

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By , December 12, 2012 1:53 pm
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. P1040120 P1020708 P1020675 P1020683 P1020684

Annual Reptile Trapping Event, Angas Downs IPA, November 2012

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By , December 12, 2012 1:29 pm
  Strophurus elderi Jewelled geckoAustralian 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.

Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia

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By , December 11, 2012 4:03 pm
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.  

Australasian Wildlife Management Society 25th Annual Conference

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By , December 11, 2012 3:30 pm

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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.

Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia-Pacific

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By , December 11, 2012 3:18 pm
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)

9781742233451 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.

Aerial surveys on Angas Downs 2012

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By , November 15, 2012 10:03 am
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.  

Chapter in Book on Food Security – use of native animals

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By , November 13, 2012 10:45 am
George Wilson contributes chapter on native animals as food producers in a book published this week by Springer.     A promotional free preview of the entire  Book  Food Security in Australia, edited by Q. Farmar-Bowers, J. Millar, and V. Higgins is available The chapter describes how few native animals, other than fish and crustaceans, are used in food production by the humans who recently arrived in Australia. Even Aboriginal Australians have now become reliant on introduced species which evolved elsewhere. In part, this is due to cultural dominance, first of the British and then other western perspectives in last 200 years. It is also because introduced species generally have higher production rates following centuries of agricultural selection and recently, energy-intensive farming practices. But it need not always be that exotic species are superior, particularly in the context of climate change. Replacing cattle and sheep on the rangelands with well-adapted species such as kangaroos and making greater use of them just as Aborigines did for 40,000 years, is a prospect worthy of further investigation.

Camera Trapping Colloquium in Wildlife Management and Research, Taronga Zoo

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By , October 4, 2012 11:03 am
[Not a valid template]Australian Wildlife Services' George Wilson and Jen Smits joined 200 camera trap researchers from all over the world at Taronga Zoo last week at the world's first camera trapping colloquium. The event was co-hosted by the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Royal Zoological Society of NSW, the Invasive Animals CRC and sponsor WWF-Australia. Camera trapping is rapidly being adopted for diverse monitoring purposes, from wildlife research and management to asset protection. They are a useful tool for both species detection and wildlife behavioural studies. AWS has been trialing some remote infrared cameras on Angas Downs in Southern Northern Territory to detect feral species and understand native and feral species interactions. For more general information on Camera trapping in Australia visit feral.org.au.