WA Monitor training
National Malleefowl Recovery Team members Joe Benshemesh and Tim Burnard recently visited Kalgoorlie and Norseman for the first of eleven Malleefowl monitoring training sessions happening across Australia this spring.
Malleefowl monitor training in Norseman
Mr Burnard said the sessions aimed to standardise monitoring methods across the states.
"Another reason for these sessions is to satisfy the need for more people to help us monitor new sites generated by the AM project," he said. AM stands for Adaptive Management
The project's priority is to understand the role of fox and cat predation on Malleefowl persistence.
"We currently monitor about 120 sites across all states. The AM project might result in about 30 more sites. That's a significant increase in mounds to be monitored each year, about an extra 1000 mounds," said Mr Burnard.
"It is likely that some of these sites will not be able to use the new technologies for locating mounds and ground searches will be needed. That's another big effort that is often undertaken by Malleefowl lovers."
"Clearly there's a need to attract more people to the Malleefowl family and train them in the National Monitoring methods."
He said Kalgoorlie was good example of the AM project in progress.
Kalgoorlie training group. Note this mound was 10.2 m diameter!
Cliffs Resources have an operation at Mount Jackson, Western Australia where they monitor about 200 mounds on land they manage.
The company have agreed to take part in the AM project and will report on both Malleefowl activity and predator activity.
Mr Burnard said they needed a nearby site of more than 10,000 ha where no fox control was being done as a comparison to the treated Cliffs site.
"Fortunately the Kalgoorlie office of Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) has just such a site at the nearby Mount Manning Conservation Park," he said.
"First, the new site needs to be searched to identify all of the existing mounds."
DPaW used the new technology, 'photogrammetry' and located 83 suspected mounds.
Mr Burnard said the next step is to check them to make sure they are Malleefowl mounds and then to start the annual monitoring process.
This mammoth task has been taken up by DPaW Officer Jenifer Jackson.
"The Kalgoorlie training weekend was a big boost for Jenifer's undertaking," he said.
"We had 15 people attend, mostly from the Goldfields Naturalists Club, learning how to monitor Malleefowl mounds."