Some perspective on World Ranger Day

Kylie Piper - Friday, July 31, 2015

At the recent Threatened Species Summit in Australia there was a lot of talk about “war on cats” and an “arsenal of weapons” that was needed to “combat” this terror. Then over the past week we have posted a number of different conversations about feral cat control, and had responses from both sides of the argument venting their anger.

So on this World Ranger Day I thought I’d bring a little bit of perspective to Australia’s war for the conservation of our threatened species.




I was recently speaking with someone working with the Thin Green Line. A fantastic not for profit organisation that supports the work of rangers across the globe. Take a look at their website and read some of the stories of their real war for conservation and our use of such descriptors as “war” and “combat” will seem frivolous by comparison.

For me it is this one frightening fact that brings it home:

"In the past 10 years alone it's estimated that over 1000 park rangers have been killed, 80% of them by commercial poachers and armed militia groups."

There are species across the globe in desperate need of assistance, but the need for an orphans and widows fund to care for the families left behind by those fighting the “good cause” is to me beyond comprehension.

So on this World Ranger Day, take a look at the 2014-15 honour roll and be thankful that our conservation war is a war of words only.

And if you get the chance I say hug a ranger - cause even our guys down under need a reminder of the good work they do!

Green Army - Round 1

Kylie Piper - Friday, July 10, 2015

Over the past 6 months a team of 4 locals aged between 17-24, have been a part of the government initiative; Green Army team undertaking conservation work in Arid Recovery, Bush Heritage sites and surroundings.

       

Red Lake expansion

One of the main tasks of the Green Army has been to extend the height of the Red Lakes fence, this was completed on Thursday June 11 after many weeks of work. The original fence was approximately 4 foot high and it was our task to increase this to 6 foot, with the addition of the famous Arid Recovery Floppy Top. This was done to reduce incursions of predators in the reserve such as cats, dogs and foxes.

Buffel eradication

 Another task the team has taken on is assisting with the eradication of Buffel Grass from the town and surrounding areas. We participated in the first Buffel Busters event of the year back in February and have continued to stay on top of the noxious weed by digging it out around town.

Bush heritage sites

As part of our stay with Arid Recovery we have also formed a partnership with Bush Heritage and have spent 4 weeks at Bon Bon Station which is north of Glendambo on the Stuart Highway. Here we were involved in a wide variety of tasks including road side rest stop clean up, fence removal and more Buffel work. One of the highlights of our time at Bon Bon trip was taking part in monitoring of one of the most northern populations of the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat.  This involved locating active burrows and installing motion sensor cameras to monitor the burrows over the 4 week period.

In our final weeks we will be making two week long trips to Boolcoomatta, another Bush Heritage site closer to Broken Hill where we will be rehabilitating severely scarred land by installing matting to increase soil profiles and trap native grass seeds.

In our time working alongside arid recovery we have been privileged to join in activities with Dr. Bec West and other arid recovery staff members, these activities include;

Bettong trapping

This included making the bait which consisted of peanut butter and oats into balls, setting and baiting a minimum of 6 traps at 5 different sites. Waiting till nightfall to check the traps was a long and anxious wait, once we were finally able to check the traps we were able to remove the bettongs and process the data such as, measure; foot length, tail width, sex, pouch for young and weight. Luckily enough we were able to handle 4 young during this process.

Stick nest rat nests location

For this gps process the team needed to conduct an emu walk over sand dunes, this technique enables more ground to be covered at a time and evenly. We were able to gps 7 nests and established that they were active, once we had these gps locations Dr. West was able to set up motion sensor cameras for ongoing monitoring.

Animal dissections

With the arid recovery education officer Perri Carter, walked us through the method of dissecting feral animals found in and around the reserve such as; Cats, wild Dogs and foxes. During this process we recorded data which included; detailing the stomach contents and identifying species found inside, weight, sex and were it was captured.

Arid Recovery Open night

As one of the community events we had to partake in, we volunteered at the arid recovery open night, inviting the community in to visit the reserve for the first time of the year on April 10th. We helped in the preparation of the night, cooking of the bbq, directing traffic and impromptu tour guiding.

Being involved in these conservation activities has been a great experience and we have learnt new skills but it has also been fun to work in a small team environment and get to know each other. 

Arid recovery is a conservation initiative supported by:
bhp
adelaide university