Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) is a volunteer-run grassroots organisation dedicated to protecting Victoria’s forests through citizen science. WOTCH set up cameras to monitor species, particularly the Leadbeater’s Possum. Five sightings of the Leadbeater’s Possum captured on the Reconyx motion sensor camera, adjacent to clearfell logging coupes has resulted in approximately seventeen hectares of forest being protected through a Special Protection Zone.
The Goongerah Landcare group works in partnership with a range of conservation groups in East Gippsland in Victoria. They run regular camps in the forest. Our funding paid a coordinator to organise the camps and train volunteers in monitoring, collecting and analysing data. The data collected was used to prepare reports for government on threatened species in the forests like the Long Footed potoroos and Greater Glider and recommendations on management for their conservation.
Mungalla Stud is a property in north Queensland that was purchased by the Nywaigi Traditional Owners and run as a commercial cattle station. We gave the Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation a grant to carry out surveys and collect baseline data on terrestrial biota on the sand dune complex next to a beautiful wetland on the property. Before undertaking remedial action, the group wants to understand what species exist there and how they function and interact with the wetlands. I visited the site and am pictured here with one of the elders from my home town in Ingham.
The Australian Platypus Conservancy undertook a project on one of Australia’s least studied mammals – the water-rat. The group carried out a number of community education sessions to prepare citizen scientists for collecting sighting data. They collated all sightings into a report, addressing the lack of information on water-rats in Victoria and now having data to inform future management plans.
Friends of Organ Pipes National Park received a grant to continue their long term bat monitoring program, a program involving both volunteers and scientists. They are collecting information on population structure, reproductive success, longevity and social associations between bats. Volunteers are trained in handling, processing and identification. The main aim of this particular project is to investigate how bat behaviour is affected by bat box design, placement and orientation.
The Victorian Wader Study Group is a respected group who monitor wader birds in Victoria. This project looked at monitoring Eastern Curlews and Sanderlings in Corner Inlet, Gippsland. The grant helped to purchase geolocators (light sensitive data loggers), used to collect data on the birds’ migration routes, stopover locations, breeding destinations and general migration. Collecting this data helps all sorts of groups including BirdLife Australia to work together to protect birds and their habitat.
The Conservation Ecology Centre was funded to monitor wildlife in the declining manna gum populations, in Cape Otway. The decline is partly due to fire and over-foraging by koalas. The group wants to establish baseline data of fauna species in the manna gums, to be able to monitor any changes to biodiversity in the future. Monitoring was done using box and pit-fall traps, dawn chorus, playback surveys, spotlight surveys, and camera traps. Monitoring and recording data is an essential part of this group’s successful operation.
The Mammal Survey Group of Victoria has received two grants from us. They purchased infra-red cameras to allow them to do comprehensive and non-invasive monitoring of mammals by their volunteers. The cameras are providing evidence of animal behaviour that was previously not able to be detected by trapping and other traditional methods of observation. This group of volunteers work in all sorts of habitats around the State and provide data to community, environment and Landcare groups who are working in that area.