Look who’s living in our parks!
Monday 6 August, 2012
A major wildlife monitoring program just completed on the Mornington Peninsula has come up with some surprisingly good results. Its part of a state wide Signs of Healthy Parks program by Parks Victoria that determines the health of parks by carefully monitoring the plants and animals that live within them.
A total of 32 native and nine introduced animals were caught on remote sensor cameras spread throughout the Point Nepean and Mornington Peninsula National Parks and Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve near Frankston. More than one hundred locations were surveyed in different habitats; heath land, coastal scrub, woodland and creek sides.
The results have been surprising and very pleasing says Parks Victoria’s Mark Antos who helped design the survey.
"We picked up dozens of rare Long-nosed Bandicoots at a lot more sites than expected, as well as White Footed Dunnarts on the coastal strip, and even some unexpected Lewins Rail birds at five sites. These can be very difficult to find because of their secretive habits. I guess we thought that after ten years of drought, a lot more urban development and constant pressure from cats, dogs and foxes there wouldn’t be a diverse range or good numbers of these vulnerable little creatures around. But we’ve been pleased to find that they’ve been breeding up again with the recent good seasons.”
“We’re almost certain we caught a very rare native Broad-toothed Rat on film and are waiting to confirm its identity. It’s never been recorded on the Peninsula before. However we did see lots of introduced Black Rats at many sites. These aggressive rodents can raid birds’ nests and eat eggs and young hatchlings, as well as native mice and baby mammals.
The survey findings are also a reminder of how people can protect these local native residents of the Peninsula says Rosebud based Ranger, Louise Bracy.\
“Don’t wander off walking tracks, observe dogs on lead signs, keep cats locked in at night, and don’t leave food scraps around to encourage rats and foxes. There’s been a lot of emphasis on Hooded Plovers along the waters edge where dogs and humans have a real impact, but there’s also lots of other animals living on coastal strips between car parks and beaches, like Wallabies, Dunnarts and Bandicoots.”
Environment Team leader with Parks Victoria, Daniel Hudson says the survey information will be very useful for future planning. “It will really help us to make the best decisions on issues like where best to do ecological burning, what are the most important areas in a park for fox control, and which locations we need to protect from heavy use by visitors.”
Footage of some of the animals caught on camera is at www.facebook.com/ParksVictoria.
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