Bilby Indigenous Knowledge Festival at Kiwirrkurra

By Stuart Dawson. Last week I attended the Bilby Indigenous Knowledge Festival in Kiwirrkurra to share expertise and findings with Indigenous rangers, landowners, scientists and land managers. These are my unique experiences at this celebration of this important vulnerable species. As we arrived in Kiwirrkurra, the most remote community in Australia, at 1am, three things…

A tiny strip of metal…

By Lauren Gilson & Nic Dunlop.  Who would have thought that one tiny strip of metal could convey so much information? It isn’t a microchip; in fact it is not electronic at all. It is a rather low-tech, simple instrument: the metal bird band.  On a fairy tern (Sternula nereis), this band is 5.5 mm…

Remote cameras in your closets?

By Peter Adams. Eventually it happens to all of us, the lab gets cluttered with equipment, space becomes a premium and inevitably you have no other option but to face facts, it’s time for the dreaded lab clean up.  I discovered boxes of old cameras that have sparked off a trip down memory lane.

Foxes in the city

By Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming. Of all the species described as ‘urban adapters’, it is perhaps the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) that is most well-known.  In Europe, foxes seem to have been hanging around towns and cities for centuries – certainly urban foxes were recorded around London in the 1800s [1].  Today, the red…

No water before white man – the story of a watering hole

By Tracey Moore. The definition of rangelands is ‘open country used for grazing and hunting animals’ and/or ‘woodlands, shrublands and grasslands for animals to graze or wander upon’. A total of eighty one percent of Western Australia is rangelands. Some of the rangelands resembles a desert and to run stock on it seems like a…

Are urban ravens really ‘thugs’ and ‘murderers’?

By Bill Bateman.  There has been a series of letters in West Australian newspapers recently that have prompted me to write this piece: the letters complain about an apparent rise in the number of ravens (Corvus coronoides) in suburbs and a concomitant decline in other bird species. The ravens are accused of nest robbing: “there…

Shelter me, feed me! Quokkas select plants for shelter and food

By Holly Poole.  Quokkas have been isolated on Rottnest Island over the last 7,000 years, since sea levels rose and cut off connectivity with the mainland. The island has a high density of animals. In autumn, after a hot and dry summer, if animals do not have sufficient body reserves, they can be particularly challenged…

High density housing: Termite mounds are more than just lumps of dirt

By Trish Fleming. Termites are amazing ecosystem engineers – they create massive changes in ecosystems that are far out of proportion to their size. A recent paper by Thompson and Thompson (2015; Pacific Conservation Biology) has captured how important termite mounds are for the Australian landscape. At their study site in the Pilbara region of Western…

It’s getting hot in here: Reptile assemblages in drought-affected forest

By Shannon Dundas. In the past 50 years, the climate in southwest WA has become hotter and drier [1, 2]. Annual rainfall in the northern jarrah forest has decreased by 17% since the 1970s [3].  In addition to the direct effects, changing climate is having a substantial impact on wildlife species through changes in habitat….