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Building networks, sharing knowledge

Published 01 Dec 2022 by Stella Shipway (Healthy Country Manager)

The Birriliburu Rangers have had a productive year in 2022; sharing knowledge, putting skills into practice and building on research and monitoring capabilities.

Knowledge exchanges with other ranger groups and Aboriginal Corporations has been a focus, strengthening ranger networks and learning from others.

Badimia exchange trip

Birriliburu land management company directors travelled down to Charles Darwin Reserve in mid-west Western Australia and met up with the Badimia directors and Traditional Custodians to spend a few days exploring the area, exchanging ideas, and building relationships.

It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from others, discuss common challenges and celebrate the successes. Each group shared their journey and their experience in working with partners such as Bush Heritage, exchanged cultural stories, shared videos, and discussed governance structures.

Joint waru (fire) management

More knowledge sharing occurred when Birriliburu Rangers joined forces with the Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) Rangers to share resources and knowledge in waru management in the north of the Birriliburu IPA.

The Birriliburu Rangers embarked on a 10-day trip to Mungarlu and Kaalpi where rangers were able to put their newly learnt skills into practice and burn remote parts of the Birriliburu IPA using an aerial incendiary machine. This was the second year this trip has occurred and has further strengthened the relationship with our northern neighbours.

The groups offered insights into each other’s processes and discussed their shared family links and common challenges.

Another joint fire management trip occurred with the Warnpurru Rangers to the east of the Birriliburu IPA. The Warnpurru Rangers are a new team that manage the Pila Nature Reserve, and this trip gave them the chance to learn from the experienced Birriliburu Ranger team. Together, they conducted ground burning with drip torches, with Birriliburu teaching safe techniques for this operation.

Working with neighbours is a key strategy for Birriliburu.

Fauna monitoring

We had an exciting year of monitoring, with new tjakura (Great Desert Skink) and mantangalku (Bilby) burrows found, more surveys for the Night Parrot and promising results from our Felixer cat control machines.

Sightings of several active tjakura burrows will help increase our knowledge and are a good foundation for future monitoring. We walked 7.5km across three monitoring sites and found 33 burrows, with 22 classified as active (having either fresh tracks or scats seen). We placed several cameras on these burrow systems and look forward to reviewing results next year.

This year’s Bilby monitoring confirmed populations on the east side of Birriliburu.

We had some promising results in our trial of Felixer machines this year after some technical problems in 2021. The new technology identified several cats and foxes as targets and are working correctly. We hope to continue this next year and implement controls on cats and foxes at key areas around Katjarra (Carnarvon Ranges).

Night Parrot have been previously recorded on Birriliburu, but the rangers are still looking for a roosting site. We placed three sound recorders in a new area of large spinifex during a habitat mappring exercise last year. Once the sound recorders were retrieved, rangers were trained in sound analysis. The results are not final but so far, no calls have been identified. We’ll continue searching.

Indigenous Desert Alliance Conference

To finish the year, the Birriliburu Rangers and directors attended and presented at the Indigenous Desert Alliance Conference held at Yulara. This was the first in-person event since 2019 and brought together 400 people from 50 ranger groups across the desert. The Birriliburu Rangers presented on their joint fire management trip and their Felixer trials.

Pro-active land management, cultural exchange and further research has underscored another successful year for the Birriliburu Rangers, and we look forward with much optimism for what’s to come.

Margaret Katjibil, Lena Long and Caroline Long pointing to the large latrine site of a <em>tjakura</em>. Margaret Katjibil, Lena Long and Caroline Long pointing to the large latrine site of a <em>tjakura</em>.
Duran Patch and Ramarno Jackman doing some ground burning on the way to Mungarlu. Duran Patch and Ramarno Jackman doing some ground burning on the way to Mungarlu.
Sebastian Williams, Shonte Thomas, Austin Patch, Duran Patch and Tremaine Anderson setting up a camera on the side of the road to monitor cats and foxes. Sebastian Williams, Shonte Thomas, Austin Patch, Duran Patch and Tremaine Anderson setting up a camera on the side of the road to monitor cats and foxes.
Walking and talking with Badimia through the wildflowers at Charles Darwin Reserve. Walking and talking with Badimia through the wildflowers at Charles Darwin Reserve.
The ladies team at a track plot site. Stella Shipway, Patrina Morgan, Tameesha Wonawol, Debbie Wongawol, Tracy Carboon (IDA) and Vivianne Stevens. The ladies team at a track plot site. Stella Shipway, Patrina Morgan, Tameesha Wonawol, Debbie Wongawol, Tracy Carboon (IDA) and Vivianne Stevens.

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