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Stickybeak at Secret Rocks

News release
06 December 2022

Established exclusion zones to protect native plants and threatened animal species were on show at a Stickybeak Day at Secret Rocks in October.

Twenty visitors took the opportunity provided by the Gawler Ranges Landscape Group to see the benefits offered by the exclusion zones at the conservation property and how the property ensures the safety of reintroduced species.

Landholder John Read explained a partnership with the State Herbarium which had allowed the property to plant seeds for endemic Gawler Ranges species.

Attendees saw an endangered velvet-bush (Androcalva multiloba) and chalky wattle (Acacia cretacea), a vulnerable Granite mudwort (Limosella graitica) and from the top of the granite lookout, had regenerating mallee pointed out, after it was burned in two different fires in the 2021/22 summer.

Fortunate to visit during malleefowl monitoring, participants were able to visit an active malleefowl mound and fellow landholder Katherine Moseby explained the LiDAR process used to identify active mounds across the property with a good success rate. She said that while early monitoring was encouraging, most of the active mounds were located outside of the exclusion zones.

The preferred landscape and some diggings of Western-barred bandicoots was also shown. First reintroduced to the property in 2021, the population has grown from 15 to about 80 and continues to thrive. The success of this reintroduction encouraged John and Katherine to proceed with plans to reintroduce numbats and red-tailed phascogales, due to begin soon.

Monitoring cameras are set up at strategic locations across the property and allow for targeted controls to be undertaken when pests, such as cats and foxes, appeared on camera footage. This ensures the best chance of survival for the reintroduced animal species.