Sunshine Coast Environmentalists Seek Evidence Of ‘Ecosystem Engineers’ Get Nearly $ 30,000 In Funding For Landcare

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November 16, 2021 – Landcarers hoping to find evidence of the threat of the longnose potoroo in the Sunshine Coast hinterland have secured critical funding of $ 28,200 from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants.

Coolum and North Shore Coast Care (CaNSCC) are dedicating this funding for a photographic study and community engagement to determine if the shy nocturnal marsupial lives in the Mount Ninderry area east of the Bruce Highway. They also want to see what other endangered animals might be present in the landscape.

There is speculation that the elusive animal still resides in pockets of forest in the Mount Ninderry Reserve and surrounding areas after decades of habitat clearing and fragmentation.

“The best way to find out if there are long-nosed potoroos is to install infrared motion-sensing wildlife cameras at various sites. Anecdotal observations from reliable sources suggest that the long-nosed potoroo survives in this region. We know they survive in some isolated pockets of forest habitat around the Sunshine Coast, ”said project coordinator Jasmine Connors.

“The objective of our study is to help map the distribution of remaining populations of vulnerable wildlife in areas prone to bushfires. We know these fires are inevitable and a better understanding of these fire-sensitive species will help improve their management, ”added Leigh Warneminde, President of CaNSCC.

CaNSCC undertakes practical projects, including bush regeneration, citizen science, community education and advocacy. In this case, the aim is to gather evidence of the existence of potoroos and other animals in the Mount Ninderry region in order to best manage their habitat in the future.

Landowners have installed 12 infrared motion-sensing cameras on the Mount Ninderry reserve and eight on nearby residential properties. They use truffle oil to attract long-nosed potoroos, as truffles are their favorite food.

The long-nosed potoroo is listed as Vulnerable in Australia and Endangered in some states. It is one of the smallest macropod marsupials (kangaroo family) and feeds on a diet of mushrooms (truffles and mushrooms) and plant material. Shy animal, it uses areas of dense undergrowth for shelter and hiding from predators.

Motion sensor cameras are considered a low impact way to assess animal populations that might be present. Landowners have since collected eight cameras and are now combing through thousands of photographs. They will collect the rest of the cameras in late November and run a workshop with other volunteers to browse more photos, hoping to find evidence of the long-nosed potoroo.

If we get pictures of the long-nosed potoroo, we will be looking for ways to improve conservation results. Habitat connectivity (wildlife corridors) is lacking in the landscapes of the Sunshine Coast, as is public awareness. The latter could be easily improved with signage to encourage people to be alert to endangered species while walking with their dogs or driving in the Mount Ninderry area. said Jasmine Connors.

She said there was little research available on long-nosed potoroos in Queensland and that she was digging deeper into it.

“They are considered essential for forest biodiversity as they spread native truffle spores throughout the landscape, helping to maintain plant health and acting as ecosystem engineers.

The animal lives along the east coast of Australia, but its numbers and distribution have declined significantly. They continue to face habitat loss due to land clearing, habitat fragmentation and other threats including unforeseen fires and predators such as foxes, dogs and cats ”, a- she declared.

This is one of three projects undertaken by CaNSCC. They received a total of $ 49,000 from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program. In addition to the long-nosed potoroo photographic project, they are also using a portion of their total grant to provide replacement nesting boxes for wildlife in the hollow habitats between the Maroochy River and Stumers Creek. They will also undertake a project to detect and identify local crayfish threatened with extinction in the coming months.

Project results will help land managers provide high quality ecological services to protect locally vulnerable and threatened species.

Anyone who sees a long-nosed potoroo on their property in the Mount Ninderry area is encouraged to

/ Public distribution. This material from the original organization / authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.


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