Earlier this year the TSR Hub initiated an ambitious project to determine how a small endangered native marsupial, the Kangaroo Island dunnart, responds
when one of its prime threats, predation by feral cats, is controlled or removed. The idea, of course, is to secure a future for the dunnart but in
doing so it’s hoped there’s a whole lot more we can learn about saving threatened species. Dr Rosemary Hohnen from Charles Darwin University
is leading the work and explains here what’s involved.
Feral cats are a key cause of biodiversity loss in Australia and overseas. Across Australia there are thought to be between 2.1 and 6.3 million feral cats and they have been implicated in the decline and extinction of some 20 mammal species. Many threatened Australian mammal species now only persist in fenced ‘feral-free’ exclosures or offshore islands. The national Threatened Species Strategy has made tackling feral cats a core priority and particularly on biodiversity rich offshore islands.
Top image: Coastal heath on Kangaroo Island. Researchers and managers from multiple groups came together earlier this year to discuss progress on the cat eradication project and how best to go about monitoring the island’s threatened species. Image: Rosemary Hohnen.
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) Rangers in the Martu Determination have collaborated with Threatened Species Recovery Hub scientists to design a monitoring program for mankarr (the greater bilby). Martu people identified priorities for the bilby monitoring program, then worked with Dr Anja Skroblin from The University of Melbourne to co-develop a monitoring method which brings together Martu knowledge and practice with Western conservation science.
I am a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation in north-west New South Wales. I grew up in western Sydney on Darug land and now live in Canberra on Ngunnawal land.
A new project is aiming to increase city kids’ connections with nature, threatened species conservation and Indigenous culture. Dr Georgia Garrard from RMIT University talks about this project, which will see Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Traditional Owners working with kids at Carlton North Primary School in Melbourne and Gunditjmara Traditional Owners working with kids at Heywood Consolidated School in western Victoria.
For the Larrakia Land and Sea Rangers, the sight of a shell midden in coastal saltpans tells a long history of culture and how their ancestors are connected with the intertidal and mangrove environment. Through a different lens, the Larrakia Rangers also see these shell middens as areas where their culture overlaps with the habitat used by the Critically Endangered migratory shorebird the far eastern curlew.
Threatened species on Indigenous land may be of prime interest to scientists and ecologists, but they are often not the species of greatest importance to the Indigenous landowners. Understanding local priorities for biodiversity is an essential step in ensuring that conservation projects are locally beneficial and supported. Researcher Tom Duncan from Charles Darwin University has been collaborating with the Tiwi Land Council and Tiwi Land Rangers to explore this issue on the Tiwi Islands.