Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) for over 10 years, and through the engagement of community members, have been restoring areas of natural habitat creating green ecological corridors for
iconic South West Black Cockatoos; the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) and the threatened Forrest Red Tail Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii).
The Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and Forrest Red Tail Black Cockatoo are unique to the South West of Western Australia, from Geraldton to Esperance.
Since the 1970s, the population of the Carnaby’s Cockatoo has declined by more than a half. This is due to clearance of feeding and nesting habitat, removal of mature (at least 200-year-old)
Eucalyptus trees that bear nesting hollows, competition from feral birds for existing nesting hollows and poaching. All of which are from human intervention.
Humans also have the choice to control the rate of these threatened birds by acting now to make a difference. CVA facilitates project days for people that want to make a difference by donating
their time to volunteer with CVA and support habitat restoration for these federally protected birds. The Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and Forrest Red Tail black Cockatoo are protected species under the Commonwealth’s
Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 and Western Australia’s
Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, regrettably their habitat is not protected resulting in their populations decline.
By making a donation, you enable the mobilisation of CVA Volunteer teams to work across the Perth metropolitan region and South West of Western Australia to protect and restore significant green
ecological linkages for the bird’s survival. This is through revegetation of natural habitat and food sources and the suppressing of exotic invasive weeds and allows for native seedlings to germinate and grow. This along with protecting water sources vital
for their survival, and the promotion of community education and knowledge transfer, will all assist in safeguarding and the restoration of these significant species and ecosystems.
As we have reported in the past a key component of the Rewilding the Desert Program is to better understand the current state of the local ecosystem and the fauna species that reside in the region via the Rewilding the Desert Monitoring Project. To date our fauna survey program has centred around Conservation Volunteers Australia’s two predator-proof sanctuaries, the Little Desert Nature Lodge and the Malleefowl Sanctuary with 36 sites both on and adjoining these properties.
This year however, working with our local partners Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (the Department) we survey 72 sites across the Little Desert Landscape (see map). The Parks Victoria project was aiming to assess the impact of invasive predators (the Red fox and feral cat) on native fauna, and; the Departments project was investigating the impact of fire on native fauna, Although, these projects had different purposes we implemented the same methodology as the Rewilding the Desert Monitoring Project. This means that the we can share our data across the various project giving, everyone more data and information to help us better understand the status of the local ecosystem and its fauna and the influence key ecological drivers, like fire and predation, have on the ecosystem.
Across the projects:
- 72 sites were trapped
- 9120 traps were checked
- 30 different species of animals were captured
- 1335 individual animals were captured, and
- Engaged over 50 volunteers!
In 2019, the Rewilding the Desert Monitoring Program will move to an annual fauna survey, instead of biannually. We will also work with Park Victoria and the Department to repeat the 2018 surveys and continue building our understanding of the Little Desert ecosystem.
As always, I would like to say thank you to our amazing supporters and donors. Without your support we cannot continue this critical project and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife.
Summer updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Woodlands Historic Park
Once again we were hoping for late spring and summer rain. Fortunately, we were off to a great start with around 65mm of rain falling over two days at the start of December. This was great soaking rain and we got an instant burst of grass growth.
Unfortunately, over the two months since then there has only been around 20mm in total. On top of this it was the hottest January on record with several days hitting 40 degrees and a day of 45 degrees. This put a quick stop to the growth of the grasses but on a positive front the size and structure has remained. Hopefully meaning there will still be some extra habitat for new nests to be made for the bandicoots.
In other good news our bloom of summer grasshoppers arrived meaning there is plenty of food around above ground while it’s harder to dig for insects as the ground dries up. This is part of summer in Australia and a natural element flora and fauna go through.
The bandicoot is very clever and adaptable and will adjust its breeding rates, so a healthy population gets through this dry period. No physical trapping takes place over summer to make sure there are no health and heat stress issues for the wildlife. But during spotlight monitoring bandicoots have still been seen across the entire enclosure. Plenty of work to reduce weeds has taken place during the dry season and new rabbit control programs run during this period as well to reduce grazing pressure on the grasslands.
One of the major concerns for keeping small populations of fenced wildlife is fire. That’s why there are several sites across Victoria to minimise the risk of a major catastrophe. There have been plenty of bushfires around the state as per normal. Thankfully Woodlands Parks Victoria staff take great care to prepare the site before the fire season to massively reduce the risk of fire threat. Once again we haven’t had any issues here.
So, we will battle through this dry, hot and long summer. Hopefully getting some late summer rain and moving onto a big breeding season starting in autumn.
Once again great work everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, volunteers and all members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who have assisted with making this possible.
Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer