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Birriliburu 2021 update

Published 10 Dec 2021 by Stella Shipway (Healthy Country Manager)

As the year is coming to an end, it's a good time to look back on all that was accomplished by the Birriliburu Ranger team. This year has been busy with continued monitoring of threatened species and introduced predators, fire management trips, testing the new Felixers, progressing the bush tucker book, family trips, weed management and conferences.

Some highlights for the year are:

First photos of Tjakura on Birriliburu

You might have seen us post some photos earlier in the year of Great Desert Skink, also known as Tjakura. During previous Ranger trips we found the burrows and latrine sites of Tjakura - everyone was positive it was Tjakura but wanted to put out some cameras to see them.

The Birriliburu Rangers had cameras out over the 2020/21 summer and got the first images of Tjakura on the Birriliburu IPA! We had lots of photos and the skinks seem to be doing well, with young skinks in the photos.

The skinks were not previously recorded on the IPA until the Ranger team found them doing their annual monitoring. Scientists weren’t sure if they were still in this area, so it's great news for this threatened species. It wasn’t just good luck - the Rangers used their expert skills in tracking.

One of the big threats for Tjakura are wildfires. The area where we found them has been a focus for Waru (fire) management for the past 10 years by the Birriliburu Rangers. This shows the great work the Rangers are doing to help protect Country and is hope for threatened species like this special skink!

Continued Track Plot monitoring

Since 2015 the Birriliburu Rangers have revisited their Track Plot sites to do monitoring, doing a total of 134 Track Plots. At each of these sites they walk a 2 ha area and record any sign of animals (tracks, scats, burrows, diggings). These plots give a good snapshot of what's happening in the landscape and we can compare this to previous years and look for changes.

During our annual monitoring this year we found a new location for Tjakura. There are now three sites where Tjakura have been found.

And we found some marsupial mole tracks on the top of a sand dune. This was the first time we recorded marsupial moles in these surveys. Everyone was very excited and proud to find these tracks.

Joint fire management

At the start of the year three Birriliburu Rangers were trained in the use of the aerial incendiary machine. This machine is used in a helicopter to put fire back into the landscape in a patchy way. We joined with the KJ Ranger teams in Jigalong to do this training. Following this training we met up with our neighbours, the Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa Jigalong Rangers, to do joint fire work in the northern part of the Birriliburu IPA and the adjoining Martu determination.

This is the first time that Birriliburu Rangers have been been in control of operating the aerial incendiary machine on their Country. It was a big, ten-day trip and we travelled about 1,400 km. Birriliburu Rangers Juan and Brogan headed up in the helicopter to do the burning with incendiaries around Mungarlu.

Martu people increasing their skills and having greater ownership of the fire management is fantastic. The trip was also great for many other reasons, sharing stories, visiting special sites and collecting bush tucker. It was good to spend time with the Jigalong Rangers at Kaalpi and we hope it's the start of many more trips together.

Family trip along the Canning Stock Route

Family trips are important part of the Ranger program too. Getting the younger generation out on country to hear stories from elders and learn traditional knowledge. Birriliburu country is remote and difficult to access, making these trips even more important. This year saw two family trips. One was the Long family trip up the Canning Stock Route to Well 15 and back. We had 40 people 12 cars. and shared lots of stories and found lots of tasty bush tucker too.

I felt very privileged to join this trip to help record stories and bush tucker knowledge. Stories were recorded so we can share with people that couldn't make the trip and continue to share with the younger generations. And Bush tucker knowledge and stories were recorded to continue that knowledge and for the book we're making.

We've continued working on the Bush Tucker book in Wiluna with a workshop of 19 people and the school kids also stopped in to learn and listen.

Biodiversity workshop in Wiluna

A special week in Wiluna with lots of ranger groups coming together to talk about important animals on their Country including the Night Parrot and Great Desert Skink.

Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, Birriliburu, Gingirana, Wiluna Martu, Wakamurru, and Kiwirrkurra rangers were represented.

It's good to get together and share what we know so we can look after Country the best way. We learnt about Night Parrots and how to choose good spots to put sound recorders using satellite imagery on Google Earth. We also learnt how to analyse the sound records using computers.

It was great to get together and share knowledge. This makes our Ranger work better when we learn from each other.

Long Family at a soak that they found and cleaned out Long Family at a soak that they found and cleaned out
Marsupial mole tracks Marsupial mole tracks
Ullula burning the spinifex Ullula burning the spinifex
The trip at well 15! The trip at well 15!
Juan in the helicopter excited to start the aerial burning Juan in the helicopter excited to start the aerial burning
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