Excited university students, landcare representatives and interested community members joined Perth NRM for a tour of Karakamia Wildlife Sanctuary, a nature reserve managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).
By Dr. Ingrid Sieler, Perth NRM Senior Manager, Stakeholder Engagement.
We began our visit with a presentation from AWC staff about the extensive conservation work that has been undertaken at the sanctuary and learned about the successful reintroduction of the critically endangered Woylie, the Tammar Wallaby and Common Brush Tailed Possum and to see the habitat restoration projects supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
As the sun began to set, we headed out on the night stalk, ready to see key mammals of the jarrah forest marri and wandoo woodland. Our knowledgeable guides shared evidence of mammal activity and talked about the behaviour of the different species. The sharpest eyes in our group spotted a Tammar Wallaby and once we knew what to look for, we quickly became aware of the mothers and their young, with some joeys still in the pouch.
We heard the call of the Slender Tree Frog and Boobook Owl and then saw our first Woylie.
Woylies are important ecosystem engineers were once common across South-Western Australia, and their recent history tells a powerful conservation story of rapid population growth from 40,000 individuals to sudden decline and a return to the IUCN Red List, as a critically endangered species. Today the Woylie population at Karakamia is stable and continues to benefit from the extensive conservation work by AWC.
The evenings biggest surprise were the large Common Brush Tailed Possums that happily grazed on the grass of a cleared area and didn’t mind the excited chatter of visitors on a night stalk. It was positive to experience native bush with healthy populations of small mammals, protected from cats, foxes and other feral animals.
Learn more about the Back from the Brink Project, Stage 2 that continues Perth NRM’s work to help manage critical habitat through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program by contacting Jason Pitman, at [email protected]