A love for Australia’s wildlife lies at the core of our nation’s identity. It sustains our wellbeing. That is something that Dr Leonie Valentine can personally attest to as her passion for wildlife has helped her through good times and bad. Here she explains how.
Dr Mike Smith joined the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) as a Regional Ecologist just as the organisation was kicking off a major conservation program to re-establish 10 regionally extinct mammal species in the south west of WA, an exciting time to come on board. The area they were being released into is an exclosure site set up by the AWC at Mt Gibson. Here he shares a few of the trials and tribulations of working with threatened species – and the exhilaration of seeing some of Australia’s most imperilled animals bounce back.
There is no other species of Australian bird that quickens the pulse of professional ornithologists and amateur birdwatchers alike, as the night parrot. In the 170 years since its discovery, the night parrot has attained legendary status as a ghost of the vast arid inland. Several sightings (and findings) in recent years have revealed the parrot is far from being a ghost, but a dearth of information on the bird makes it hard to plan for its persistence into the future. Nick Leseberg from the University of Queensland brings us up to date on what is known about the night parrot, and what is planned for its conservation.
Whilst the bulk of the research undertaken by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub deals with individual species, the Hub’s work also encompasses Threatened Ecological Communities. Ecological communities – you might like to think of them as ecosystems – are assemblages of species that occur and interact together, and will have co-evolved together, in a particular area typically defined by soil, rainfall and geomorphology.
In only 60 years Australia has lost over 90% of a type of forest that once covered 130,000 square kilometres, and could be losing plants with important medicinal uses.
Christmas Island National Park is aiming to do something that very few populated islands in the world have successfully achieved – the eradication of feral cats.
Tiny sound recorders will be set up near the nests of South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, as part of ground-breaking research to monitor the nesting habits of the endangered species.
Low numbers of Eastern Barred Bandicoots in Victoria have resulted in low genetic diversity which is a threat to plans to rebuild numbers in breeding programs. A new partnership is addressing the issue with an innovative breeding program which is introducing Tasmanian genes to the Victorian population.
Booderee National Park will be celebrating Threatened Species Day (7 September) by welcoming the return of locally extinct mammals. Long-nosed potoroos and southern brown bandicoots have already been reintroduced to Booderee after being locally extinct for up to a century, and now preparations are underway to welcome a third threatened species, the eastern quoll, back to the park.
Experts from across the country recently met to review the national guidelines for plant translocation. The important conservation technique is much more than just planting trees, a point well illustrated by work to save the Mellblom's Spider-orchid which has hinged on wasps.
Around 5% or 1150 of Australia's plants are endangered or critically endangered. Dr Jen Silcock is developing a Red Hot List to identify the Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction and what we can do about it.
At a minimum, citizen science can get people thinking about nature, but it can achieve much more as well. Dr Rochelle Steven talks about what we can gain from citizen science programs and the development of a framework that maximises positive impacts for nationally-listed threatened species.
Finding opportunities in business that are good for biodiversity and where biodiversity can be good for business, could be the key to creating positive outcomes for threatened species and businesses alike.v
Two of the most successful captive breeding programs in Australia’s history have brought the Lister’s gecko and blue-tailed skink back from the brink of extinction. The TSR Hub is now working with Parks Australia to investigate options for the reptiles beyond captive breeding.
A unique business-research summit was staged in the heart of Melbourne earlier this year to identify and explore emerging business opportunities that also have benefits for threatened-species conservation.
Indigenous lands are important when it comes to conserving threatened species. The first step in identifying viable options for partnerships is to identify the overlap between Indigenous land and biodiversity value. ???? (Jaana might like to reword?)
A feral cat eradication program on Kangaroo Island, commencing in August 2017, will endeavour to provide an insight into the status of the endangered KI dunnart. It is hoped the program will secure a future for the dunnart along with other threatened species on the island.
Having already met the majority of first year targets of the Threatened Species Strategy, we are now focused on new and innovative partnerships to help achieve ambitious Year 3 and Year 5 targets. Read about our innovative initiatives for 2017.
Does the loss of protective understory after prescribed forest fires, make it easier for foxes and feral cats to hunt native mammals?
Focusing on the rate and magnitude of species declines can miss important aspects about why species are declining, but this information could be crucial for effective management.
Dr Damian Michael has worked with over 500 landholders to help conserve threatened species and ecological communities. He talks about his upbringing, career and the satisfaction he gets from working with farming communities and volunteer groups.
While a $213,000 nest box program failed the threatened species it was designed to attract, there is much we can learn from it to improve future offset policy and projects.
New research, just published in Journal of Mammalogy, has observed a dramatic increase in feral predators after a prescribed burn in Victoria’s Otway Ranges.
Will Batson explains why a bettong in the bush is worth two in the hand; the successful reintroduction of bettongs within two predator-free fenced nature reserves in the ACT; and a new project to establish bettongs outside fenced reserves.
Native animals are declining on Australia’s second largest island with brush-tailed rabbit-rats, black-footed tree-rats and northern brown bandicoots the worst hit.
Threatened species are often found in landscapes where there are competing interests and views on how things should be managed. Who are you going to call to deal with these tensions? Ecologists? Engineers? Economists? In the Victorian Central Highlands TSR Hub researchers have called in the accountants.
The current Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for Victorian Mountain Ash Forests will expire in the middle of the year. The ASH sawmill has requested access to log native forests for the next 26 years. What would this mean for the ecology of the forests and its most threatened resident, the Leadbeater’s Possum in particular?
Three vertebrate species became extinct in Australia during the last decade, but these losses had no perceptible impact on our nation’s economy and weren't noticed by most people. Given this, what are the arguments for seeking to prevent the loss of species? TSR Hub Deputy Director John Woinarski responds to this question with ten justifications.
The far eastern curlew, one of the world’s largest migratory shorebirds, has declined dramatically in the last 20 years. The bird is in trouble on multiple fronts and central to addressing these challenges is a better understanding of its habitat needs and international cooperation.
Natasha Robinson believes that for research to have meaning it needs to be applied and have impact. Natasha is a TSR Hub Research Fellow at ANU, working on monitoring and adaptively managing threatened species.
376 EPBC-listed threatened species have some part of their distribution in at least one Australian city or town, and for at least 30 of those species, that’s the only place they are found. If we are to have any success at securing their futures, we need to come up with effective strategies for their conservation in our urban spaces.
The Martu people of the Western Desert are working to protect one of the last strongholds of the iconic bilby. TSR scientists are hoping they can help in this work by designing a monitoring program that Martu rangers can use to better understand bilby population trends over time. Anja Skroblin from the University of Melbourne describes what’s being done.
Strong collaborations with conservation policy makers, planners and on-ground practitioners ensure that research is addressing on-ground needs. Our research program also includes fascinating work on social and economic opportunities to conserve threatened species, including how best to engage people and communities and how traditional Indigenous and western knowledge systems can work together to better inform conservation actions.
For most people, threatened species recovery is about doing something to save a threatened species – planting habitat trees, translocating individual animals and managing threats like foxes and cats. The ‘doing’ is important but what is often not seen is the organisation behind the doing. How are decisions made? Which bits of the ‘doing’ is given the priority? And how do we make sure we ‘learn’ as we ‘do’? The TSR Hub is working with the Australian Government on drawing together what we know about best practice for recovery teams.
Conservation management works best when it is based on robust evidence. If we’re trying to manage a threatening factor, such as a pest or a weed species, we really should know how many there are, how they’re distributed, and how many we should control to make a difference. Feral cats are constantly cited as a major threat to Australia’s native wildlife, so TSR researchers look at how many are out there.