Here at Bush Heritage, a lot of the work we do is only possible because of the contribution of volunteers. However in some cases, when there's more work to be done than time allows and specialised skills are required, we need to turn to professional consultants.
This year at Hamelin our schedule meant that we didn’t have any qualified staff or volunteers free to complete our small animal monitoring. This led to discussions with the Perth based environmental consultancy, Biologic whose work helped BHP iron ore win the golden gecko environmental excellence award this year.
The company offered to send us two of their experts at cost price (making no profit from the job, which meant a heavy discount). For consultancies that work on contracts for mining companies, providing this service at cost represents a significant contribution to Bush Heritage and allowed us to get this important work done.
Tali and Damian from Biologic spent a week on Hamelin Station Reserve trapping our little critters and found some great animals. The Hamelin Skinks (Ctenotus zastictus) are doing well. These little skinks can only be found on Hamelin Station Reserve and one of the neighbouring properties, which means their care is a big responsibility for Bush Heritage. Knowing that the fate of a species could depend on the management of this property puts the pressure on.
Another interesting find this year was the Short-tailed Pygmy Monitor (Varanus brevicauda). This is the first year that we've trapped these tiny goannas, which are actually the world’s second smallest monitor lizard. Official records only show these goannas occurring a fair distance north of Hamelin so this represents a range extension for the species.
Including tiny goannas and range-restricted skinks there were a total of 30 species trapped, ranging from blind snakes to hopping mice, with a few surprises in between like a disorientated Chestnut Quail Thrush, a pretty and usually difficult to see bird, which had stumbled into one of our pitfall traps.
We’d like to thank Biologic for their help. It was great to be able to collaborate with a consultancy that shares Bush Heritage’s passion for the environment.