NatureLinks - Targeted Area
In 2013 the Australian Government announced the Targeted Area Grants open for applications (through the then-named Caring for Our Country Program). The Department for Environment and Water, in partnership with the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board and Greening Australia, and with support from a wide range of stakeholders, applied for and successfully won a Targeted Area Grant (TAG).
Key conservation outcomes of the NatureLinks TAG project include:
- Increase environmental awareness of environmental issues and how to become involved in conservation
- Improve relationships between government and community
- Improve health and resistance of local coastal environments
- Increase community knowledge and participation in natural resource management matters
- Reduce the impacts and distribution of pest plant and animals
- Supporting nationally significant populations of Greater Bilby and Brush-tailed Bettong for generations to come.
- Engagement with all western district schools in a range of workshops, field days and the Warna Manda Program
- Working with local farmers in vegetation management works, and value-adding to the Kulliparu Conservation Park to Venus Bay Linkage
- Control of National Weeds of Significance and feral animals over 5000 hectares
- Undertaking numerous trials for innovative feral cat controls to protect the Nationally Endangered Greater Bilby and Brush-tailed Bettong
- Supporting and increased capacity with indigenous people in a range of on-ground works
- Working with a range of stakeholders including, BirdLife Australia, WildEyre, Greening Australia, National Parks and Wildlife South Australia and the District Council of Elliston.
Achievements to date
Indigenous Capacity Building
Traditional Owners- Wirungu Country
- Support and facilitate the Warna Munda program
- Over 250 participants to date
- Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation teams delivering a range of on-ground activities
- Ranger Cadet Camp
Innovative feral cat control trials
- Infrared remote sensor camera trials
- Trapping method trials
- Lure investigation
- Grooming Trap trial
Community Engagement and Education
- 1,345 participants
- 6 Schools engaged
- 34 activities delivered
- Engaging with pre-schools
- New activities delivered, including ‘Round About’ theatre production on caring for our coastal environments and ‘Animal Anonymous’ wildlife shows
- Fauna Guide book launch
Landholders and Conservation
- Over 5,712ha
- Targeted focus on Kulliparu to Venus Linkage
- 14 projects to date - Revegetation projects in Venus (in partnership with WildEyre) and Streaky Bay Innovative feral cat control trials
- Infrared remote sensor camera trials
Protecting nationally threatened species – Bilbies and Bettongs
In order to protect re-introduced threatened species in Venus Bay Conservation Park such as the Greater Bilby and Brushed-tailed Bettong, we have made it one of our priorities to make sure the area behind the predator proof fence provides the best habitat possible to encourage their survival.
By undergoing revegetation projects we are improving their habitat by ensuring there will be food and shelter resources available to them into the future. There has been an ongoing effort to monitor both species population success throughout the park since their reintroduction (Bettongs 1994 and Bilbies in 2001). Including spotlight surveys and mammal trapping. Recently we have built on these efforts by installing infra-red remote sensing cameras to give us more information about both species behaviour (such as ranging and mating behaviour). These cameras allow us to keep a closer watch on the species and make more informed conclusions on population numbers and distribution inside the predator proof exclosure.
Building on ongoing efforts we are faced with the challenge of controlling the feral cat populations that persist behind the predator proof fence. The infra-red remote sensing provide information on feral cat movements through the park and, we are starting to see ‘hotspots’ and patterns in feral cat ranging behaviour. This information is helping us improve our methods of control. The camera information has also allowed us to make educated decisions on where to place Ecological Horizons Inc. first prototype of the Grooming Trap for its first field trial and monitor its success. We are continuously building on the body of knowledge by implementing more innovative trials and using a tool kit approach. We are continuing to finding what works for one feral cat may not work for another.
Venus Bay Conservation Park is an existing fenced area with reintroduced species and a persisting population of savvy feral cats that provides a unique opportunity to implement a number of innovative trials to control the feral cat population whilst protecting and monitoring the effects on the threatened species.