Survey uncovers rare and unknown species

23rd Jan 2014

fernpic1.jpgOver just one week, and across a relatively small area, a biodiversity survey commissioned by Djunbunji has uncovered several rare and one unknown species of flora or fauna, principal landscape ecologist for the Wet Tropics Management Authority David Stanton says.

Mr Stanton coordinated the survey and said the Mandingalbay Yidinji Ranger Program played an important role in light of the results.
“The main thing is a lot of animals and plants and habitats are unprotected under legislation, and when I say legislation that includes the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Nature Conservation Act,” he said.
“We found a number a frog endangered under state, federal and international legislation and the reason it’s listed as endangered is the species nearly died out several years ago due to a fungal disease, and it’s only just starting to recover.
“It seems like there’s a daily healthy population in the Yarrabah area.
“There’s also a couple of birds they picked up – a Big Stone Curlew which is a vulnerable species and it’s habitat is under a lot of pressure from horses, pigs and dogs, so basically managing those sort of feral animals will help control any further impacts to that species as well.
“And that’s where the Rangers come in.
“Not only can they do surveys for these animals, but they can bring in some sort of management action that can protect or enhance the population.
“That’s where the Rangers will probably be heading down the track; it’s a very good thing,” Mr Stanton said.
“The more of these things you find on your property the better it is in terms of future funding and recognition of the conservation value of your lands.
“We probably reckon there’s up to about 40 threatened flora species that occur on the MY Lands, and potentially between 30 and 40 threatened fauna species. So the Rangers have a pretty big role in monitoring and looking after some of these assets.”
Ranger Co-ordinator for the Djunbunji Land and Sea Program James (Jimmy) Richards said the biodiversity surveys were one of the best things they’d ever done.
“Certainly opened the eyes up of these guys of what’s out there,” he said.
“We’ve actually found plants that are critically endangered and need protecting.
“We found an area there that’s got rainforest on sand which is critically endangered.
“For us, we hope that will certainly open the eyes of the Government.
“We’re hoping that with that mapping we can get some more funds to do more extensive surveys all the way through that country.
“We knew things were there, but we didn’t know how critically endangered they were.
“But we also don’t know what’s out there, and if we can get some more funding to go out there and do extensive surveys itself we’re actually helping the Government in finding these endangered habitats and everything like that.
“It builds the Rangers’ capabilities and capacities up also.”