Local malleefowl sightings help national conservation effort
Seven recent malleefowl sightings from members of the Eyre Peninsula community and two newly located malleefowl mounds in Pinkawillinie Conservation Park provide positive signs in an otherwise challenging year for malleefowl conservation on western Eyre Peninsula.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula spokesperson Libby Hunt said the exceptionally dry start to 2017 and lack of winter rainfall has made breeding conditions unfavourable for the threatened malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) across most of the western Eyre Peninsula.
This is consistent with information on the National Malleefowl Database, with shows an overall ‘below average’ breeding season with only a few small areas with malleefowl receiving rain in time.
“Over summer we’ve received seven malleefowl reports,” Libby said, “with some recent sightings near Witera silos, and other locations.
“Malleefowl are vulnerable to extinction, so all sightings are valuable, even sightings from known malleefowl areas on different days. The data we receive goes into the National Malleefowl Recovery Database.”
Local volunteers and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula staff conduct annual malleefowl mound monitoring grid surveys within a series of parks and Heritage Agreement areas across Eyre Peninsula. This year a drone was trialled in the monitoring of the survey grid close to Lock.
“It’s early days yet. All trials applying technology to traditional techniques require a period of fine turning before we can consider ways we might monitor entire survey areas aerially. It’s all part of our continual improvement process to monitoring threatened species and biodiversity on Eyre Peninsula,” Libby said.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Senior Resources Management Officer Liz McTaggart said considerations for malleefowl conservation have been integral to protecting more than 9000 hectares in the Kulliparu to Venus Bay landscape linkage area.
“We are grateful of local landholders for their in-kind support and on-ground actions to help malleefowl,” Liz said. “We are also thankful for funding from the Australian Government Targeted Area Grant and from Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula towards providing long-term movement options for malleefowl, and a range of other native species, with possible future climate change impacts.
Please report any malleefowl sightings or mounds to your local Natural Resources Officer or online at www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula
If you would like to join the EP malleefowl monitoring team email Liz.McTaggart@sa.gov.au or phone 0437 297 992.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula is currently working in partnership with Peri Stenhouse, a PhD Researcher closely monitoring Eyre Peninsula malleefowl activity since 2016, (email firstname.lastname@example.org).