BEST foot forward for biodiversity

News article |

A group of volunteers who love nature and don’t mind getting their hands dirty for conservation, were rewarded with a special find on a recent biological survey in Mount Remarkable National Park.

BEST (Biodiversity and Endangered Species Team) volunteers recorded two narrow-nosed planigales during a survey of the Alligator Basin in mid-October.Australia’s smallest carnivorous mammal, the Narrow-nosed Planigale (Planigale tenuirostris), was last seen in Mount Remarkable National Park in 1983.

“Discovering a previously unrecorded plant or animal, or one that has not been seen for a long time, is one of the best rewards a conservation volunteer can have”, said Wendy Cliff, Volunteer Support Officer with Natural Resources Northern and Yorke and Secretary for the BEST team.

“The little four gram carnivores were certainly highlights, but we also recorded some really interesting reptiles including the Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis) and the Ragged Snake-eye Skink (Cryptoblepharus pannosus), ” Miss Cliff said.

The recent biological survey of Alligator Basin was funded through a Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board 2014/15 Community Grant.Linked to a large prescribed burn planned for autumn 2016, the survey, one of several to be conducted over the next three years, will provide information about the impact of fire on plant and animal species in the Alligator Basin.

“We use prescribed burns as a management tool in Mount Remarkable National Park but need to learn more about fire frequency and how species respond after fire activity”, Miss Cliff said. “Some species are fire-sensitive while others, like yakkas, are fire-dependent, and we have to strike the right balance when we burn.”

Established in 2004 to protect and conserve threatened flora and fauna in Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Region, the BEST team have also worked on Pygmy Blue-tongue and Fairy Tern surveys, bat monitoring, biological surveys in other districts, pest plant control, and the award-winning Biodiversity Blitz in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Parkin 2011.

“The BEST team are a passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated group of volunteers who generously give their time to help us protect and conserve our biodiversity” said Miss Cliff.

A range of volunteering opportunities exist in Natural Resources Northern and Yorke region.

“Volunteers play an important role in managing our natural resources”, said Miss Cliff. “To get involved, contact the Natural Resources Centre in Clare on 8841 3444, email us or visit our website.”

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