Volunteers constructing pitfall trapping line
And so it was the summer trapping program in the Little Desert. After a mild summer and above average rainfall every wetlands, pond and pothole was full with water, and with all this water came an eruption of frogs.Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Program Manager, Ben Holmes, reports: “Over 6,000 Pobblebonk frogs (Limnodynastes dumerilii) were captured in the first week and approximately 9,100 across our five weeks of trapping! This is extraordinary considering only a few months ago we only captured 183 Pobblebonk’s over 4 weeks of trapping.” These monitoring results inform us that this desert ecosystem, like many others, operates in Boom- Bust cycles. Ben explains, “When conditions are good animals and plants boom in huge numbers, then as conditions deteriorate (i.e. it gets dry and/or hot) the plant and animals bust. This bust cycle can last for years, where animals in particular occur in very low numbers awaiting those favourable conditions to return.”
The frogs are called the Pobblebonk (or Eastern Banjo Frog) because of their distinctive “bonk” call. This large burrowing frog is primarily insectivorous and can be seen in large numbers after rain feeding and breeding.
With the help of many volunteers, and thousands of volunteer hours, we have achieved a great deal recently:
- We constructed another eight trapping grids with 80 buckets and 400 metres (1/4 mile) of fencing
- Conducted 5 weeks of trapping surveys
- Captured and released 265 animals, including Painted Dragon, Western Pygmy-possum, Inland Snake-eyed Skink, Marbled Gecko and Common Scaly-foot
- Carried out detailed habitat assessments at 8 sites
- Conducted a camera survey trial using 40 borrowed cameras, equating to over 1,500 camera trap nights
Whilst we have achieved these fantastic results, there is still so much more to do! Ben explains, “The camera survey trial was a huge success, and moving forward, will be a critical component of this project to allow us to successfully measure and monitor the larger species, such as goannas and introduced foxes.” To make this happen we need your support to purchase our own set of cameras. Please consider donating again or sharing our story to help us raise vital funds to continue our monitoring program.
To our amazing supporters and donors, we’d like to say thank you! Without your support we cannot continue this critical program and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife.
Thousands of frogs!
Group of fox pups captured via our camera survey