October was a busy month for TSR Hub researchers in the media, with several researchers appearing in the news – both online and on the airwaves.
Dr Dejan Stojanovic from the TSR Hub’s Tackling threats to endangered hollow-nesting birds (Project 2.2 led by Professor Rob Heinsohn) shared early signs of success with Melissa Davey from The Guardian. Threatened swift parrots have made use of nesting boxes installed by scientists and volunteers and the project was boosted by a successful crowd funding campaign.
In a further example of art supporting science, artist Chips Mackinolty has lent his distinct style to highlight the plight of the Alligator River yellow chat. Proceeds raised from the sale of Chips’ prints will go to a project supervised by TSR Hub researcher Stephen Garnett. Professor Garnett will use the money to fund Indigenous co-researchers and purchase tracking equipment.
Associate professor Sarah Legge has revealed the latest and most comprehensive estimate of Australia’s feral cat population in an interview with ABC Radio National’s Fran Kelly. Following collaborative research with 40 feral cat scientists and experts, the feral cat population is now estimated to be between 2.1 million and 6.3 million – revised down from a previous estimate of about 18 million made 20 years ago.
TSR Hub's Project 1.1.8 Using Guardian dogs to protect threatened species, led by Christopher Johnson, has received media coverage this week on ABC landline and ABC news online.
TSR Hub researchers Dr April Reside and Stephen Kearney have collaborated with fellow University of Queensland associates Bonnie Mappin, James Watson and Sarah Chapman on an article for The Conversation, listing Four environmental reasons why fast-tracking the Carmichael coal mine is a bad idea.
Their article explains that the proposed mine expansion will make it difficult for Australia to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, the dredging of the seabed off Abbot Point will have a deleterious effect on the Great Barrier Reef, the mine itself will extract a large volume of valuable groundwater, and habitat loss due to the mine will place the endangered southern black-throated finch population under increased strain.
Photo: Swift parrots eggs have begun hatching in Tasmania, photo by @TeamSwiftParrot
Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the importance of averting extinctions of less charismatic animals.
The 2019–20 wildfires have severely impacted animals of all major species groups. Here, national experts on mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and freshwater fish and crayfish present some of the key challenges for each group and how these will influence management and research priorities in the aftermath of the fires.
Cultural fire management is the way that Indigenous people have used fire to care for Country for thousands of years, and it continues today. The devastation wreaked by the 2019–20 bushfires across millions of hectares was a wake-up call for Australia and the world. Oliver Costello from the Firesticks Alliance explains how the fires demonstrated the need to listen to and care for Country.
Australia has one of the highest rates of plant endemism of any country globally. After the catastrophic fire season of 2019–20, Dr Rachael Gallagher and Professor David Keith are leading two teams to find out which species and ecological communities are most in need of immediate recovery.
The 2019–20 bushfires burnt over 12 million hectares of south-eastern and south-western Australia, causing abrupt losses of biodiversity at a scale never seen before. Over a billion animals were estimated to have died, but the figure is likely much higher. The Australian Government’s Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel is guiding the work of prioritising species and ecological communities for emergency interventions and determining what those actions should be. Hub Deputy Director and Expert Panel member Professor Sarah Legge takes us though the hows and whys of this prioritisation, and some of its challenges.