Small fry is big news
The translocated Flinders Ranges Purple-spotted Gudgeons are well on the way to establishing populations in their new homes.
Six hundred endangered gudgeons, known to Adnyamathanha people as Wirta Udla Yarri, were helicoptered from their home in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park and the adjacent Moolawatana Pastoral Lease in May last year. Of these, 300 were placed in permanent springs in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and 300 in the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area, north-west of Hawker.
After passing their first test with ‘flying’ colours, the second was to survive the winter and produce young fish (fry), which they appeared to have done at both locations.
In November 2021, Yappala Aboriginal Rangers with staff from the SAAL Landscape Board and Ecoknowledge located several fish at a few locations and filmed very small fry, less than 1cm long, amongst the reeds using a small electric yellow submarine.
A visit to IFRNP turned up eight adult fish, however no young were observed or captured on film.
SAAL Senior Conservation Ecologist Rob Brandle said at the time, there was some fear that large floods which altered the size and depth of many pools along the spring, had washed away the fish.
“They were impossible to find between June and November,” he said.
A revisit to this site in February found the pools teaming with small 2cm long fish plus mid-sized (5-7cm) and larger fish exceeding 10cm.
“To discover some of the older fish, along with the new recruits to the population was a relief,” Mr Brandle said.
“It was met with delight from the translocation team and shows that it should be possible for these new populations to not just survive, but to thrive into the future.”
The translocations double the number of known populations and represent an important milestone for the SAAL Landscape Board’s Bounceback and Beyond project.
Bounceback and Beyond is supported by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.