Monitoring wildlife in the Top End

Date: 05, Nov, 2019
Author(s):   Einoder, L.D., Southwell, D.M., Lahoz-Monfort, J.J., Gillespie, G.R., Fisher, A., Wintle, B.A.
Publisher: TSR Hub

Long-term monitoring has been crucial for documenting the status and trends of birds, mammals and reptiles, in northern Australia, especially a drastic decline in small-to-medium sized mammals. Understanding where these species occur in the landscape and how difficult they are to detect during monitoring is crucial for evaluating and designing future monitoring programs, and for broader conservation planning across the Top End. In this study, we collated and fitted occupancy-detection models to data from long-term monitoring across eight major Top End conservation reserves (five national parks, two Indigenous Protected Areas and one private conservation area), which were collected by the Northern Territory Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The findings provide a snapshot of the current occupancy of a large proportion of the mammal, reptile and bird community across the Top End, and the drivers of current species distributions for more common species. We have also estimated the effectiveness of existing sampling methods (live trapping methods, camera trapping and active searches) at detecting species present at sites.