The Newsletter of Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife in Central Australia - April 2015
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Sunset at Conlan's Lagoon shows off the abundant stands of Cane grass Eragrostis australasica and Eucalyptus coolabah among other interesting plants. Thanks to the Alice Springs Field Naturalists for inviting the Land for Wildlife team! Photo: Jen Kreusser.
 

Hi all,

We are excited to share with you Territory Natural Resource Management  is supporting a small feral cat monitoring and awareness project that we will be rolling out over the next few months (Mar-June 2015). Thanks TNRM! We will be hosting a few workshops, activities and participating in community events with a particular focus on raising the profile of feral cats and how to responsibly manage your domestic pet. We will keep you posted with all the latest details and data about the project as it unfolds.
 
This project is supported by Territory Natural Resource Management, through funding from the Australian Government.


What's on:
  • Thursday 2nd April: 'I am Wildlife' - Photographic Exhibition - 6pm - The Residency (adjacent to the Post Office) Alice Springs
  • Thursday 2nd April: ALEC Fundraiser Event - 7pm - Epilogue Bar 
  • 13th-16th April - Australian Rangelands Conference - Alice Springs
  • Sunday 17th May - 'Pets on Parade' - Alice Springs Mall

Would you like to buy a cat trap? The cooler weather might be a better time to manage those feral cats that visit your block. We are looking to acquire some more traps and if you are interested in buying one of your own, please let us know and put in your order (lfw@lowecol.com.au)!

Cheers,

Jen, Tim and Bill
LfW and GfW team
lfw@lowecol.com.au.
 

Korprillya Springs Field Trip
This month Land for Wildlife teamed up with the  Tjuwanpa Women Rangers and the Ntaria (Hermannsberg) Junior Rangers for a field excursion to Korprillya Springs, about 15min drive west of Ntaria.

Junior rangers learnt from Tim how to collect a water sample and had a go at using field equipment to obtain water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH of the water at Korprillya Spring. The water sample was taken to the Alice Springs lab for analysis. Other students practiced their listening and observation skills as they took a short walk to conduct a bird survey (they have very sharp eyes - and they were keen to have a look through the binoculars too!). Afterwards, students learnt and practiced the critical technique of putting on a  bandage after being bitten by a hypothetical snake. Thanks Ntaria School and Tjuwanpa Women Rangers for having LfW join in with the program! We had a really great time with the students and look forward to being invited again! 

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Korprillya Springs is a culturally significant waterhole to the western Arrente people (of Ntaria) and is also part of a Land for Wildlife property.



Students practice their first aid bandaging skills after a hypothetical snake bite.



Korprillya Springs is a Land for Wildlife property and has been fully fenced by the local ranger groups to keep out horses and camels.


Horses are significant to the cultural connection between people and country for the Ntaria community and the fence keeps them out of Korprillya Springs.
Playful perenties at the Purdie's property...

As you may be aware the Perentie (Varanus giganteus) is the largest lizard on the Australian continent and continues to fascinate many tourists and locals when sighted. Perhaps it's their strong robust frame, impressive pattern and ancient appearance. Preferring to live in rocky areas near gorges, creek lines and ridges where they hunt for a variety of prey (lizards, mammals, birds) it's always a treat when we see them. 

LfW members Denise and Geoff Purdie were bursting with curiosity and excitement as they stood by to marvel at the strange behaviour from two perentie's at the edge of their verandah. Though they have had various families of perenties living on their block over several decades - they had not witnessed such strange and unusual behaviour.

Only several weeks ago a smaller perentie, possibly female, was the subject of interest and pursuit by a larger (likely male) individual for about 30mins. Although the breeding season is long past, the curious larger male followed her about, as she shrugged and indicated to be left alone. Apparently the behaviour demonstrated was not aggressive, simply curious and somewhat reflective of a courtship.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any thoughts?
Thanks for sharing!

Perenties carrying out interesting behaviour at the Purdie's property (Ilparpa Rd). Photo: Denise Purdie.

 

Olive Pink Botanical Gardens - Huge Plant Sale!

This month the Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife team held a stall at the HUGE Olive Pink Botanic Garden plant sale. Thanks for everyone who came to say G'day, we had a really busy morning and managed to promote some awareness about feral and domestic cats too! It was a sell out affair with most plants gone by 9am after opening at 8:00am! The Land for Wildlife team were there to field any questions and helped people figure out the type of 'land unit' that their property sits on. This information is good while preparing for any development on a property whether for a garden, farm or building development. Land units isolate the characteristics of the soil on the property, such as a Remnant Flood Deposit Flats or a Broad Alluvial Plain. This gives an indication as to what has previously grown there and what sort of plant (and therefore animal) communities it will support. If you would like more information about the land units of your property, get in touch (lfw@lowecol.com.au).

The Land for Wildlife team supports the Olive Pink Botanic Garden Plant Sale, raising awareness about feral cats in central Australia.

Plant tips:
by Tim Dowling
  • Plant deep rooted and shallow rooted plants together so that they can provide a good mix of soil penetration.  Providing upper, mid and understorey plants builds habitat structure for wildlife that enjoy those particular habitats. For instance, the larger birds such as the ring necks, yellow throated minors and raptors will tend to gravitate in and around the open branches (emergent trees). Whereas, small honeyeaters and splendid wrens, for instance, use areas in and around dense shrubs (middle and understorey). Plants compete for light, nutrients and water however as their roots penetrate to different depths, there is an opportunity that many can survive together.
  • Similarly taller trees provide a canopy that will shade smaller shrubs. Although they compete for water light and nutrients there is also benefit from shade on our Alice summers - less evapo-transporation. They also provide support for climbers and can provide a home for a multitude of animals including caterpillars, birds, lerps, bats and spiders. 

Responsible cat owner tips:

Is your cat:
  • de-sexed?
  • registered and microchipped with the Alice Springs town council?
  • Contained within the boundary of your property?
  • wearing a bell or scrunchie?
  • Kept inside at night?

Consider:
  • building a cat enclosure (catarium) attached to your fence, verandah or garage
  • attaching 120mm PVC pipe to the inside of walls and fences to prevent cats from leaping over them 

Owners of domestic cats are required to keep their pets within their property boundary.

 
Eco-links...
All the environmental and wildlife news that's fit to re-print

Evidence of feral cats caught killing and eating a 4kg pademelon 
ink to article on New Scientist

Are dingos the answer to saving native wildlife?
Link to article On Earth

Solar farm floats in SA: first of its kind!
Link to ABC article

Are Tassie Devils able to help manage feral cats?
Link to article on The Conversation

Centipede venom as strong as its pincers
Link to article on Australian Geographic

Feral cats continue to wreak havoc on native wildlife
Link to article on Australian Geographic

Dingo protects endangered dusky mouse
Link to article on Australian Geographic

Attenborough shows off the Great Barrier Reef
Link to article on The New Daily
Feral Scan is a new App that collates information about the location of ferals across Australia. 

Feral Scan 
Thanks for reading folks...

The team have been busy this month out and about at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden Plant Sale and celebrating their 30th birthday as a Botanic Garden. Parks and Wildlife Service invited us to be involved with the Australasian Bat Night at the Telegraph Station, we visited Conlan's Lagoon with the Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club, and a trip out to Narwietooma to sign up a new Land for Wildlife member (more in the next newsletter)!


Congratulating Olive Pink on being a Botanic Garden! Why not celebrate with a gigantic chocolate cake?

We are working hard to get the cat monitoring and awareness project underway as well as responding to all the new applications for membership to the Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife programs. Thank you for your patience, feedback and support as we build momentum!

As always we look forward to hearing from you about interesting things you are finding at your place. Curious question? - just get in touch.

Happy exploring,

Jen, Tim & Bill.
April 2015
Copyright © 2015 Low Ecological Services, All rights reserved.


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