Australian islands have a vital role to play in protecting threatened species. By providing predator-free, relatively low-pressure environments, islands
can act as sanctuaries for species at risk on the mainland.
They also present novel conservation challenges and opportunities, and better information is needed on how to most effectively protect Australia’s island biodiversity.
Participants at the recent ‘Threatened Species Management on Islands: failures, successes and lessons learned’ workshop identified several areas where research can be directed to improve success rates for island conservation.
As well as looking at where and how threatened species management has been successful and unsuccessful on islands, the group discussed new and emerging challenges for island conservation and also identified potential future collaborations.
The workshop, run by Dr Justine Shaw and Associate Professor Salit Kark from the TSR Hub, attracted approximately 40 researchers from Australian, US, Scottish and Swedish universities, as well as people living and working on Lord Howe, Norfolk, Christmas and Phillip Islands.
The multi-disciplinary group included academics, research scientists, park rangers, state and federal government scientists, consultants, museum staff, community leaders and scientists from NGOs.
Management lessons from across islands and organisations were shared and will enhance future collaborations and joint projects, and the workshop will inform the future direction of the TSR Hub’s Project 4.2 (Saving species on Australian islands).
The workshop was held in conjunction with the recent Island Arks IV symposium held on Norfolk Island, in the wake of the Churchill Cyclone passing north of the island that morning.
We are receiving an additional $2 million to deliver science to support wildlife and habitat recovery efforts following Australia’s bushfire crisis. The rapid rollout of work now faces the added and acute challenge of COVID-19.
Predation by cats is a key threat to at least 123 threatened species in Australia. Better understanding and reducing the impact of feral cats on susceptible wildlife has been a major area of research for the hub.
One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats.
Chief Science Officer John Kanowski and Regional Ecologist SW Michael Smith from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy discuss the far-reaching work their team is doing to protect vulnerable mammals from introduced predators.
Oliver Tester from the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner tells us about the Australian Government’s action on feral cats.