Dr Shaun Molloy, a research scientist from Edith Cowan University and Claudia Hadlow, Landcare Coordinator for the Dumbleyung District have been undertaking fieldwork to assess the condition of fauna in the Southern Wheatbelt. What they have found has been, in the Shaun’s words, “surprising enough to make us rethink a few of our assumptions on revegetation”.
Shaun was assisted by Claudia whereby both have been working on the Bringing Them Back Project which aims to assess the effectiveness of revegetation/corridors, land management actions and the establishment of ecological linkages projects in the Southern Wheatbelt on the region’s unique fauna. This project focusses on the Dongolocking Catchment, the site of a major conservation project undertaken between 1996 and 2005. The fieldwork undertaken includes field surveys (where fauna are captured, identified, measured, weighed and released), the use of remote cameras, invertebrate surveys, and bird surveys.
The results from the second 5 day trapping session included: 4 Red-tailed phascogales (a conservation priority species), several Koomal (the SW WA subspecies of the Brushtail Possum), a number of White-footed trilling frogs (a species more common in the arid zones), Honey possums, a Western pygmy possum and an Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus which (very surprisingly) walked into a cage trap, and numerous other small animals. See photos below.
When asked what this means Shaun said, “We are seeing conservation priority mammals making revegetation their habitat, along with many bird and invertebrate species. Of course there are still problems with some pest species such as foxes and cats and kangaroos can best be described as abundant, but the good far outweighs the bad. It’s a great example of what can happen when conservation professionals work together with engaged and motivated landholders.