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Mar 18, 2019

FAUNA TRAPPING PROGRAM EXPANSION

Mitchell
Mitchell's Short-tailed Snake

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.

 

Ben Holmes

Volunteers last project supper
Volunteers last project supper
Map of Surveyed areas
Map of Surveyed areas
Western Pygmy Possum held by Ellie
Western Pygmy Possum held by Ellie
Feb 6, 2019

Summer updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots

Volunteer with Bandicoot
Volunteer with Bandicoot

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

 

Grassland area
Grassland area
Bandicoot active through the day
Bandicoot active through the day
Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park
Nov 16, 2018

Spring Update

Red Tail Black Cockatoo
Red Tail Black Cockatoo

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is working in partnership with the South West Group (SWG) and five of its Council Members; City of Cockburn, City of Fremantle, City of Kwinana, City of Melville and Town of East Fremantle to enhance and extend a regional network of ecological linkages connecting local and state government managed land in the south west metropolitan region.   

 

CVA is assisting these local governments to enhance these ecological linkages by engaging volunteers to undertake a range of practical conservation activities.  The objective of the partnership is to engage local residents in local environmental projects, increase community awareness of environmental threats and issues, and to enhance the condition of the region’s natural areas to preserve or improve its biodiversity values and the community’s enjoyment of those areas. 

 

Importantly, the work being undertaken is contributing to the preservation and improvement of the natural habitat for the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (listed as Endangered under Commonwealth legislation) and the Forest Red Tail Black Cockatoo (listed as Vulnerable).  This sees volunteers undertaking conservation activities that protect waterways and improve the habitat values of natural areas.  Our volunteers also engage in the protection of threatened ecological communities such as Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain.  Banksia Woodlands are an important foraging ground for the Carnaby’s Cockatoo and is declared threatened due to human impacts such as land clearing for urbanisation and spread of pathogens such as Phytophthora Dieback. 

 

Since July 2017, CVA volunteers have been actively enhancing ecological linkages that support Black Cockatoos in their foraging and roosting habitats.  Volunteers have contributed 5,770 hours in conservation activities, planted 23,763 native seedlings and cleared nearly 458,000m2 of invasive weeds species. 

 

Your generous donations continue to enable further engagement of the community in local and state initiatives that deliver on-ground activities which protect threatened species and communities, and which actively contribute to ‘greener’ cities. 

 

Thank you for your continuing support.

Tristan Duke, Regional Manager - Perth 

Carnaby
Carnaby's Cockatoo needs your help
Carnaby
Carnaby's Cockatoo
 
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