Nature conservation

Native animals

WildCount

All native animals are an important part of the environment. They are elements of the ecosystems that provide us with clean air and water and natural places to enjoy.

It is easy to believe that common native animals like kangaroos, brush-tailed possums, lyrebirds and wombats will always be around. However, these animals are as vulnerable as threatened species are to changes in the environment.

How can we know if these precious native animals will be around in the future? Is it possible that, despite being relatively common, they are in decline? To answer these questions we have started WildCount.

WildCount is a long-term fauna monitoring program that uses motion-sensitive digital cameras to assess which parts of the landscape native animals occupy. Cameras are placed on 200 sites in eastern NSW, from local nature reserves to remote national parks.

The video below explains more and shows one of our field teams in action.

Through WildCount, scientists and land managers aim to detect if there is a 30% change in a species’ occurrence over a ten-year period. This measurement is related to the criteria for listing species as vulnerable under the IUCN red list.

While the real benefit of the program in detecting these changes will not be realised for several years, in our 2012 pilot year:

  • 109 species were detected (45 mammals, 60 birds and 4 reptiles)
  • a new detection of a pest species, rusa deer, was confirmed in Georges River National Park; park management can now develop strategies to manage this species
  • surveys revealed some good news about threatened species, when a presumed extinct population of brush-tailed rock-wallabies was detected.

For more information, consult the NSW Wildlife Atlas.

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Page last updated: 17 July 2014