Invertebrates, frogs and reptiles play a key role in the overall functioning of a bushland, however, we are still learning about their diversity and distribution. Many of these species are endemic to Southwest WA and have undergone declines in response to habitat loss and disturbances. To better understand who’s inhabiting our local Banksia Woodland and how best to protect them, PHCC and DBCA have been surveying Treasure Block within Myalup State Forest.
Staff from PHCC and DBCA recently completed an intensive two weeks of fauna surveys at Treasure Block. Pitfall and funnel traps were installed to provide important information about the distribution and abundance of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, while cage and Elliot traps provided information about small mammals and marsupials. Several rare and common skinks (including Lerista elegans and Ctenotus labillardieri), snakes, frogs (moaning frog and western banjo frog) were recorded.
For animal ethics, the survey implemented several strategies:
- All pitfall traps were checked twice per day, and only opened for nine days.
- Covering cage traps with hessian and woody material, and placing in shaded areas.
- Checking and closing cage traps early in the morning.
- Ensuring animals were calm before release
- Using small cloths to cover the eyes of nocturnal animals and releasing them at the base of large trees with suitable hollows.
Some reptiles, frogs and mammals require long-unburnt patches of bushland for recruitment and survival, and understanding their distribution is the first step to designing effective management plans, including fire regimes. Results from this study will be used to conserve declining and threatened species, by informing management and recovery plans of Bankia Woodlands. Thank-you to DBCA and the Winjan Bindjareb Boodja Rangers for assisting with trap set-up and knowledge sharing.
This project is delivered by PHCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.