The involvement of deputy directors Sarah Legge and John Woinarski in the Threatened Species Commissioner’s Feral Cat Taskforce is another example of the
Hub contributing significantly to threatened species policy and management.
This Taskforce is made up of representatives from every state and territory government, as well as Natural Resource Management organisations, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the RSPCA, the National Environmental Science Programme and Threatened Species Scientific Committee representatives, the Invasive Species Council and Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.
One of the Hub’s key contributions to this Taskforce for the next six months is to assess the size of the feral cat population in Australia, and interpret this in the context of the feral cat management targets.
Hub personnel will also support the Australian Government Department of the Environment to develop measurement tools to monitor the culling of feral cats across Australia.
“The feral cat taskforce is a great opportunity for the Hub to identify research gaps, as well as opportunities to collaborate with agencies responsible for managing feral cats,” said Doctor Sarah Legge.
“The Hub places a strong emphasis on connecting research with land managers and delivery agencies and this is a great forum for strengthening these connections, and also to work with the Government to support the delivery of the Threatened Species Strategy.”
All the work being carried out in Project 1.1 involves collaborations with land management agencies, and some work also involves NGOs like the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, as well as the private sector.
For example, the Western Australian Government is working with Rio Tinto to deliver a large-scale feral cat control program in the Pilbara, and the Hub is adding to that effort with some focussed research on the effects of feral cat baiting and responses by the threatened northern quolls.
Image: Feral cat in Western Australia (Flickr CC BY NC ND 2.0)
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.