Idnya establishing at Arkaba

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The capture of 10 Idnya (Western Quolls) in a trapping event at Arkaba Conservancy in early May has provided further evidence that the vulnerable species is establishing a population beyond their original translocation at the neighbouring Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.

In recent years, Idnya have been sighted on monitoring cameras from across the conservation property and in May, the SAAL Landscape Board hosted its first trapping event at Arkaba to gain a better idea of population numbers and dispersal. This has been supported by the Board’s Idnya project, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

Staff members from the SAAL Landscape Board and a contractor joined the four night event. Each night they set 35 traps, 300m apart across trap lines near Red Range, Elder Range and a third close to Ikara.

The 10 Idnya – three females and seven males – were captured on the line laid closest to Ikara. All quolls were healthy and ranged in size from 700g to 1.8kg.

One male Virlda was also captured on the Ikara line. This was also good news, because this species was also reintroduced after becoming locally extinct.

SAAL Senior Community Ecologist Elisa Sparrow said while the previous trap-based monitoring efforts had taken place on Ikara, this was the first time a trapping event had taken place on Arkaba. This exercise has provided baseline data for future monitoring efforts on the property.

“The results suggest Idnya are establishing a population just outside of the park, and we hope to continue to monitor to the site to gain more information on trends over time,” Dr Sparrow said.

Arkaba is on the southern boundary of the national park and has undertaken its own threat abatement work in collaboration with the SAAL Landscape Board and the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s Bounceback program.

Over the past 11 years, Arkaba has controlled cats, foxes, goats and rabbits to support the work happening within Ikara for the Idnya and Virlda (Brushtail Possum) populations introduced to the park from 2014.

Arkaba owner Charles Carlow said he was delighted with the results of the recent trapping, which increased the number of quolls recorded from a privately conducted event which took place in 2022.

“Ultimately we’re hoping to support them to extend their range,” he said.

Idnya are a totem species for the local Adnyamathanha people and disappeared from the area more than 100 years ago.

They were reintroduced in a partnership between the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Foundation for Australian Most Endangered (FAME). Since that time, a partnership between SAAL, DEW and FAME have sourced additional quolls from Western Australia and the population has continued to grow, moving the species from the endangered list to now be considered a vulnerable population.

At the same time, the Bounceback program has undertaken fox baiting acrossthe National Park footprint and SAAL’s Bounceback and Beyond Project (2018-2023)removed cats, foxes and goats from the surrounding landscape to give thepopulation the best chance of survival as it expanded outside of the park.

Idnya establishing at Arkaba

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