Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia

comments Comments Off on Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia
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

comments Comments Off on Australasian Wildlife Management Society 25th Annual Conference
By , December 11, 2012 3:30 pm

Australian Wildlife Management Page Header

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

comments Comments Off on Conservation in a Crowded World: Case studies from the Asia-Pacific
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)


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

comments Comments Off on Aerial surveys on Angas Downs 2012
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

comments Comments Off on Chapter in Book on Food Security – use of native animals
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

comments Comments Off on Camera Trapping Colloquium in Wildlife Management and Research, Taronga Zoo
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

Canberra Institute of Technology students visit Angas for surveys

comments Comments Off on Canberra Institute of Technology students visit Angas for surveys
By , October 2, 2012 3:31 pm

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 facebook page for more info and photos.



Remote IR Cameras and Foxes on Angas Downs IPA, Northern Territory

comments Comments Off on Remote IR Cameras and Foxes on Angas Downs IPA, Northern Territory
By , August 21, 2012 2:33 pm

AWS staff and Angas Downs rangers have installed some remote infrared cameras across Angas Downs to capture native and pest animal movements to watering points. The cameras, 12 MP Acorn LT1  Night Vision cameras, have a blue flash that is invisible to animals. It records photos and videos in both day and night mode.

Captures include kangaroos, birds, horses, cattle, camels, emus, dingos, cats and foxes. Foxes hadn’t previously been identified as occurring in the area until these remote cameras were put in. Beautiful videos of Emus, Bronzewings, Hooded robins, a Little Eagle, Wedgetails, Brown Goshawks, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo checking themselves out in the water reflection, and Bourke’s parrots are some of the bird highlights.

The rangers will use the cameras to make management decisions such as where to set cat traps and to see which waters are important for native species and kuka (game species). The cameras will be even more successful when the landscape dries up.

Click here to see the Angas Downs remote camera video on

ABC Country Hour also reported on Angas’ use of remote cameras – click here for transcript and audio.


ABC Interview on Red Kangaroos on Angas Downs

comments Comments Off on ABC Interview on Red Kangaroos on Angas Downs
By , June 26, 2012 3:02 pm

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.”

Windamara rangers visit Angas Downs IPA

comments Comments Off on Windamara rangers visit Angas Downs IPA
By , June 21, 2012 9:52 am


During May 2012, the Angas Downs rangers successfully hosted 8 IPA/WoC rangers from the Windamara Aboriginal Corporation from Heywood Victoria and Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area – as part of a Ranger exchange program. Angas Downs rangers showed them about their country, showed them their work on camel control, tourism opportunities and cultural sites. They also met the Angas Downs Emus and Kangaroos. Then the Windamara rangers went onto Uluru where they met the rangers there. Angas Downs Rangers will then visit them in Victoria. They will learn about how they go about their cultural heritage management and tourism.