Over the past few months, we’ve had our teams out working with the Save the Tasmanian Devil team, improving devil habitat and camera trap monitoring on the Tasman Peninsula, which is a captive bred devil release site. This site is in southern Tasmania and is playing a vital role in providing a safe haven for healthy devils (who are free from the devil facial tumour disease) to be introduced or reintroduced into the wild.
There are 30 sites on the peninsula that have infra-red motion activated cameras set up on them for 2 weeks every year. The photographs captured are then analysed to identify individual devils and help determine if the population is healthy and growing.
When reviewing the photos, we look closely at the devils’ white blazes, as they are all unique and assist us in identifying individuals. Each photograph is also reviewed closely to look for any signs of devil facial tumour disease and we are happy to report that all the devils we photographed were tumour free and we even identified some individuals who have never been seen before, meaning the devils are successfully breeding.
The data that we collect as part of this project is crucial to understanding how well captive bred devils are adapting to life in the wild and it allows for early intervention, should devil facial tumour disease take hold on the Tasman Peninsula.
One of the added benefits of using the camera trap survey technique, is that we don’t just get photos of devils; we captured pics of all kinds of animals, including snakes, birds, wallabies and bandicoots!
We would like to thank our very generous GlobalGiving donors who have provided much needed resources for our teams to continue this important project. Your ongoing support is making a significant difference to the survival of our devils!
Our first wombat surveys for 2018 will take place at the end of March. Over the past few months we have been busy honing the survey technique and data collection methods, which will allow us to be ready to hit the ground running on our first day of monitoring.
We’ve also been liaising with property owners in our priority monitoring sites, to identify additional suitable survey locations to include in our March surveys. Our aim is to ensure that every time we conduct surveys, we grow the project to add more sites and increase our understanding of the impact of mange at these locations.
Volunteers on the first monitoring project will be heading up onto Tasmania’s Central Plateau. From previous surveys, we know that there is mange on this property and this project will assist the landholder to understand how much of an impact it has had on the population over the past 6 months, and whether it is moving to other areas of the property. They will then use this information to determine best practice manage management for the wombats on their land.
We have a long road ahead of us, with many hours of monitoring still to come, and we are grateful for the support from our volunteers and donors. We’d like to thank all our wonderful volunteers who show so much passion and dedication for these wombats, as well as our generous GlobalGiving donors who continue to support our success in this project - you really are making a significant difference to the survival of our wombats!
As we move in to our survey season, we look forward to bringing you the results of our monitoring efforts in our next update. Stay tuned!
We're excited to share with you that we have been successful in receiving a grant form the Victorian State Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to redevelop our wildlife education and captive breeding facility. This is a critical milestone for the project as it will allow us to bring back to the Wimmera, for the first time in over 100 years, locally extinct, nationally threatened species; including: the burrowing bettong, western barred bandicoot, brush-tailed bettong and spot-tail quoll.
By creating safe havens and returning locally extinct native wildlife back to the Wimmera, we will contribute to a network of predator proof facilities and help prevent these species from becoming extinct.
Another objective of this project is to develop a high-quality wildlife education and engagement experience to improve Victorians' knowledge and awareness of biodiversity and wildlife conservation issues. By highlighting the plight of these locally extinct native species, and housing them in our safe havens at the Little Desert Nature Lodge, we will create a rare and unique chance for the community and visitors to see, experience and connect with, our cryptic threatened species, and thereby increase knowledge and awareness of these species and their conservation issues.
Throughout this project we will provide opportunities for volunteers and the community to participate in a meaningful wildlife conservation project and connect with nature by helping us construct this unique wildlife facility.
While we are working on the redevelopment of our captive breeding and wildlife display facilities to house and breed these rare native animals, we are continuing to develop and progress our research and rewilding reintroduction program. However, before reintroductions begin we still need to make some critical upgrades to our external predator proof fences. To make this happen we need your support to buy rolls of wire, netting, fence pins, posts and screws! So please continue to give generously!
To our amazing supporters and donors, we would again like to say thank you! Without your support we cannot continue this critical project and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our progress throughout the year.