Spy cameras help save the endangered malleefowl
Five remote cameras set up near active malleefowl mounds in the Central West are capturing exactly who is visiting these nests and unlocking valuable secrets that NSW scientists will use to help save this endangered bird.
Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Team Leader Andy McQuie said the cameras are part of a project to save the endangered malleefowl and are funded under the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species (SoS) program.
“The images taken by these motion-sensitive cameras that are set up near malleefowl mounds at Yathong Nature Reserve and private land in central NSW, show what animals visit the mounds, how often, and what they do while they’re there,” Mr McQuie said.
“Central bearded dragons, kangaroos, wallabies, lace monitors and echidnas are just a few of the native species that have been captured on camera. However it is the introduced predators that we are really interested to learn more about.
“These images show a fascinating interaction between a fox and a pair of malleefowl. It starts with a fox digging into the egg chamber of an active mound, whilst the birds watch on nearby, but after more than an hour the fox leaves empty-handed and both birds return to the nest to start the re-building process.
“By studying the behaviour of other animals visiting the mounds we hope to learn more about how to manage and reduce the threats to malleefowl, to ensure this endangered species persists in the wild in the long term.
“The SoS program works in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and adjoining landholders to conduct fox control which may include aerial baiting, regular ground baiting or targeted mound baiting in central NSW.
“The malleefowl is classified as an iconic species under the SoS program; it is highly valued by the community, is rare and has a unique appearance and behaviour,” Mr McQuie said.
This project acknowledges the support of the Western Local Land Services, as well as Yarroma Station and Etiwanda Station, both private grazing properties south of Cobar.
The NSW Government’s SoS program is providing $100 million over the next five years to help protect almost a thousand animals and plants threatened from extinction in NSW.
So far the malleefowl mound cameras have taken over 50,000 images which have been uploaded onto a website called Wildlife Spotter. We need your help to analyse the photographs to see what species are visiting the mounds. Take part by simply visiting www.wildlifespotter.net.au.
Vision for media: SoS Malleefowl