Australia will soon have a framework to design a national network of ‘safe havens’ for threatened mammals, following a recent workshop with 24 leading
conservation specialists from federal and state governments, NGOs and academia.
The Government’s Threatened Species Strategy includes a commitment to invest in safe havens for species vulnerable to introduced predators – including five predator-free islands and ten large fenced areas.
The TSR Hub’s research is providing important context for this commitment, by identifying the areas where new safe havens will achieve the greatest population increases for the largest number of threatened mammal species, and reduce the chance of further extinctions.
The approach is based on a framework developed by Jeremy Ringma (University of Queensland), Brendan Wintle (University of Melbourne) and Michael Bode (University of Melbourne).
The approach will also be useful for state governments, NGOs and conservation groups, working at national, state or regional levels, by providing another tool to use in their existing or planned translocation programs.
Predator-free islands and fenced areas are important for native mammal species that are highly susceptible to predation from cats and foxes. However, being able to recover threatened species in the broader landscape is also critical.
This research project will also identify those areas where appropriate environmental management (i.e. fire, cats and foxes) will benefit native species that do not require complete protection from cats and foxes.
The Australian Government Department of the Environment including the Threatened Species Commissioner’s Office, Environmental Resources Information Network and Parks Australia, Threatened Species Recovery Hub, State and Territory environment departments, , Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Bush Heritage and Arid Recovery were all represented at the workshop.
Image: Jim Radford (Bush Heritage) and Michael Bode (University of Melbourne).
New Hub research has quantified the extent of predation by cats on Australia’s birds and identified the species and types of birds most vulnerable to cats. The team found that cats kill over 1 million birds per day in Australia. The total is made up of an estimated 316 million birds killed by feral cats and 61 million killed by pet cats each year.
Sound recorders have been installed across farm land in south-western Victoria and on Kangaroo Island in research to help threatened glossy black-cockatoos and south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoos, by learning more about their breeding.
As cats and foxes have spread across Australia, islands have prevented the extinctions of several mammals like the boodie. Associate Professor Sarah Legge discusses the importance of safe havens and also summarizes the highlights of a recent 'safe-haven' symposium held at the International Mammalogy Congress in Perth.
The TSR Hub is one of six National Environmental Science Programme hubs and each is making its own important contribution to the national effort to recover our threatened species. Hub Director Brendan Wintle takes a look beyond the TSR Hub to highlight the good work being done on threatened species by our sister hubs.
On sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island a multi-million dollar eradication program removed cats in 2000 and rabbits, rats and mice in 2013. In the aftermath of this effort, beautiful things are emerging. Dr Justine Shaw is leading a TSR Hub project to learn from this experience and monitor how ecosystems respond.