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Remote island cameras record expanded range of wildlife

Eurasian hoopoe caught on remote camera on Adolphus Island
Eurasian hoopoe caught on remote camera on Adolphus Island Parks and Wildlife

Remote cameras installed on Adolphus Island in the east Kimberley to monitor northern quolls are revealing a far greater range of wildlife than previously recorded.

Department of Parks and Wildlife State cane toad program leader Corrin Everitt said the cameras had captured images in October 2014 of the Eurasian Hoopoe bird (Upupa epops) visiting the island.

“This is only the third sighting of the species in Australia, so were excited to find it on our cameras,” Ms Everitt said.

“It was first spotted in 2011 at Roebuck Plains Roadhouse and then in February 2014 at Galiwinku on Elcho Island in the Northern Territory. 

“Australian sightings of the Hoopoe, whose native range is Eurasia and north-west Africa, are thought to be a result of the birds flying off course during their migration.”     

The 35 cameras installed on Adolphus Island, which is located in the Ord River less than 2km from the riverbank, also recorded large numbers of native bird species. These include Brahminy kites, collared sparrow hawk and wedge-tailed eagles,” she said.

“Our bird list for the island has almost doubled from what was recorded during the 2008-09 large-scale biodiversity inventory survey conducted by the department.

“Other interesting images recorded include saltwater crocodiles and the ongoing presence of endangered northern quolls, spiny- tailed monitors (Varanus acanthurus) and black-palmed rock monitors (Varanus glebopalma), species that are susceptible to being poisoned by cane toads.

“Also observed were ‘colonies’ of northern spiny-tailed geckos on the edges of salt flats.”  

Ms Everitt said the department, in conjunction with the Balanggarra Rangers and traditional owners, would continue monitoring northern quoll and cane toad populations on Adolphus Island in 2015 as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

“Next month we will conduct camera trap baiting and camera maintenance, and to help determine cane toad distribution and abundance,” she said.

“Further work will include conducting taste aversion trials for quolls and potentially field trialling the effectiveness of new pheromones to reduce cane toad breeding success.  Taste aversion relies on the ability of quolls to learn not to eat cane toads following their exposure to toad meat sausages injected with a nausea-inducing salt.

“Adolphus has presented us with many interesting new records and we are hopeful that its northern quoll population will persist despite the presence of cane toads.”

 

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