Endangered species not seen since 1981 discovered on travelling stock route
05 December 2016
Threatened species have been discovered on Travelling Stock Routes (TSR) in north-west NSW including a rare wallaby not previously seen since 1981.
Traditionally, TSRs have been used to move livestock around the landscape however more recent reviews suggests they provide vital habitat for various threatened species.
Funding secured through the Brigalow Nandewar Biolink’s project, supported by the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Fund and Catchment Action NSW has allowed North West Local Land Services to review the natural condition of TSRs in the region.
“TSRs have native vegetation in high condition because they’re grazed on an intermittent basis which means trees and shrubs can regenerate providing habitat for threatened species,” explained Senior Land Services Officer Reegan Walker.
“We have identified certain TSR with large numbers of koalas, regent honeyeaters and the rare black-striped wallaby.”
“The discovery of the black-striped wallaby was exciting because they hadn’t been found in this particular area since about 1981.”
To find the wallaby, North West Local Land Services initiated an extensive survey program on TSR by coordinating the setting up of 60 wildlife detection cameras across multiple sites.
The results revealed what seems to be a healthy population of black-striped wallabies living in brigalow woodland, their preferred habitat near Moree and Narrabri NSW.
North West Local Land Services has initiated a program aimed at fox control and improving landscape connectivity which will allow the wallaby to move between areas reducing levels of inbreeding.
Vegetation linkages remain key for many threatened animals
Most threatened animals require native vegetation linkages so that they are able to move through the landscape to breed with unrelated individuals.
“Inbreeding occurs when an animal population becomes isolated and breeding between genetically related individuals occurs which can lead to the population crashing,” said Reegan.
Stock routes are important for animal movement because they may be the last remaining native vegetation in the landscape which provides cover for threatened animals to move from one bushland area to another.
“Animal radio tracking has shown that small mammals and birds are unwilling to go across open spaces of more than about 100 metres probably because the risk of predation is considered too high.”
“To overcome this issue, we have undertaken strategic tree planting on some TSR so that threatened animals can move from one area to another.”
One particular area considered very important for animal movement is the area between the Pilliga forest and Mount Kaputar reserve area.
Historically, these two large bushland areas would have been connected by native vegetation growing along the rich alluvial soils of the Namoi River.
“We are re-establishing this vital link by undertaking strategic tree planting so that once again, threatened species such as koalas, black-striped wallabies and squirrel gliders can move between these two bushland areas under the protective cover of native vegetation,” said Reegan.
Photo: Endangered black-striped wallaby recorded on a stock route with a joey in pouch. (Supplied: Nathalie Van Der Veer)
Photo: Koala with a joey taken in north west NSW. (Supplied: Phil Spark)
For further information, please contact:
Reegan Walker, North West Local Land Services’ Senior Lands Services Officer
Phone: 02 6742 9216 or 0429 048 867