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
Many landscapes in Australia are fire-prone, and increasingly so. Altered fire regimes can have a serious negative impact on threatened plant species and ecological communities. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project is working to better understand the effects of different fire regimes on threatened flora in order to improve fire management strategies and conservation outcomes.
Almost a quarter of Australia’s possums and gliders are listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and many more are showing signs of decline. Dr Rochelle Steven from The University of Queensland believes people in the community can do a lot to support conservation, especially in urban areas.
The detection and monitoring of threatened species have been a strong area of research in the National Environmental Science Program and also the two national environmental research programs which preceded it. Hub Director Professor Brendan Wintle takes a look at what we’ve been achieving and why it is so important to the conservation of Australia’s threatened species.
In 2009, the Christmas Island blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko were headed for imminent extinction. Parks Australia acted quickly to collect remaining wild individuals in order to establish captive breeding programs on Christmas Island and at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, which have been highly successful. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project team is working closely with Parks Australia to help secure a future for the two lizards beyond captivity.
The silver-headed antechinus and black-tailed dusky antechinus are carnivorous marsupials found in high-elevation forests in parts of central-eastern and south-eastern Queensland. They were only described in the past six years, but they are already listed as Endangered. Knowing where they occur is essential for effective conservation, but current distribution knowledge is patchy. To address this, PhD candidate Stephane Batista in partnership with the Queensland Herbarium and Queensland Department of Environment and Science is modelling the habitat where these threatened species are likely to occur, and is using detection dogs to rapidly survey these sites.