Arid Recovery Sunset Tours have started for 2011

Developer 2 (MM) - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Arid Recovery, through the dedication of the volunteer tour guides, has opened its arid lands ecosystem restoration project to guided tag-a-long interpretive sunset tours where members of the public can experience how vibrant and widely inhabited Australia’s outback was before European settlement. 

A unique exclusion fence protects the Reserve inside of which cats, rabbits and foxes have been removed, so visitors have a chance to see reintroduced, locally extinct species in their natural habitats and to gain an understanding of the importance of these creatures in the regeneration process. During the sunset tour visitors enjoy activities including identifying tracks, burrows, and plant species, spotlighting, and a visit to the nocturnal hide after watching the sun setting over an ancient landscape. 
 

Bookings are essential.  Start times may vary  according to sunset times and group tours can be arranged on application.

Bookings phone:  Roxby Downs Visitor Information Center on 08 86712001

BHPB Matched Giving Support, where does it go?

Developer 2 (MM) - Wednesday, August 13, 2014
BHP Billiton's Matched Giving Program contributes $10 per hour of volunteer work undertaken by BHPB employees towards the cause of their choice, and also dollar for dollar on many donations given by their employees.  The value of monies raised this quarter by Arid Recovery volunteers through the BHP Billiton's matched giving program is priceless.

This Autumn quarter will have a 'feral focus'.  Funds raised via the Program will help with maintenance of our existing remote monitoring system and feral eradication of the Red Lake Expansion.  March, April and May are the 'golden months' for feral predators as young cats and foxes begin to emerge. Hence it is a crucial time to maintain our feral control programs and monitoring to enhance our knowledge of these amazing but devastating feral predators.

Arid Recovery would like to give special thanks to all the volunteers who have given their time to assist our cause this past quarter, in particular those that assisted with annual trapping, and in this quarter we highlight those involved with feral animal control.

Good Signs For Translocated Bandicoots

Developer 2 (MM) - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The five recently translocated bandicoots (WBB's) from Faure Island, WA have settled into their new surroundings.

Western Barred Bandicoot arrives in SA

They are building their characteristic nests under leaf litter, actively exploring their specially designed release pen and all three females have pouch young.  The WBBs' will be provided with supplementary food and water over the next 12 months to promote breeding and once numbers have built up they will have access to the wider Arid Recovery Reserve.  These animals will provide vital genetic diversity for Arid Recovery's current population of WBBs which will hopefully lead to an increase in population size and aid in the national recovery of this threatened species.

Arid Recovery Awarded NRM Community Grant

Developer 2 (MM) - Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Minister for Environment and Conservation, the Hon. Jay Weatherill MP announced Arid Recovery among the successful applicants of this highly competitive grant.  The $50,000 received will enable Arid Recovery to improve monitoring of reintroduced species such as greater bilbies and burrowing bettongs, and improve the genetic management of species such as the western barred bandicoot.  Community training sessions in areas such as feral animal control and threatened species monitoring has also been funded, as well as disseminating a decade's worth of arid zone research to various stakeholders in the form of information packs.  Community involvement plays a crucial role in successfully restoring Australia's arid zone. 

2013. The year of the Bettong

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2013. Arid Recovery’s 16th year of operation. Full of school visits and success, flora and fauna, and bettongs, lots of bettongs!

We kicked off 2013 with annual trapping, which is always one of the highlights of the year for Arid Recovery staff and volunteers. One of the longest running trapping events of its kind in Australia, 2013 did not disappoint, with an abundance of arid zone animals captured in our pitfall and Elliott traps. The swale sites produced common critters such as the Royal Ctenotus skink (Ctenotus regius) and Spinifex Hopping Mouse (Notomys alexis) as well as rarer finds including Bynoe’s Gecko (Heteronotia binoei) and Bolam’s Mouse (Pseudomys bolami).

Feral cat month rolled around in May, with Arid Recovery emphasising the devastating impacts that feral cats have on our precious native animals. We looked at the Roxby Downs cat by-laws and investigated the increase in feral cats seen at nearby Andamooka. Arid zone ecologist, John Read also jumped on the bandwagon, providing us with more evidence against those hungry felines with the results of gut content samples that he had analysed from the APY lands.

Our education programs were in full swing throughout the year, with numerous schools visiting the Reserve and AR education staff attending events in Adelaide and Port Augusta. Memorable moments include Port Lincoln students experiencing firsthand what it is like to work in the field of conservation, whilst Muso Magic filmed the visit and later aired the footage on Imparja TV for their show Outback Tracks!

The dingo transects, which had been monitored for five years as part of the dingo research project, were wrapped up in November. After many kilometres clocked up on foot counting tracks in the sand, the staff involved where extremely happy to complete this monitoring project. The latest results have been included alongside the five year data set, and trends in predator activity and prey abundance will be closely analysed to determine the role that dingoes play in our arid zone ecosystems.

However, whilst the above recollections have been impressive, all Arid Recovery staff and volunteers have to agree that 2013 has been all about bettongs. With nearly 1500 bettongs trapped, processed and transported from the Reserve to a release site north of Arid Recovery, it is safe to say that we have bettongs on the brain! Working throughout the night, the hardworking efforts of AR staff and vollies to combat bettong overpopulation issues inside the Reserve have not gone un-noticed.

Above is just a snapshot of our highlights and achievements for the past year. It is hard to fit a year’s worth of accomplishments into a short blog, so please trawl through our blog archive to find out more about what else we got up to at Arid Recovery during 2013.

The team at Arid Recovery would like to say a huge thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers that helped make 2013 such a successful year. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to another year of achievements at Arid Recovery.

Home sweet home

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here at Arid Recovery, it’s pretty quiet during the day - you could almost be excused for thinking that we don’t have any animals inside the Reserve!  However, at night time the Reserve is alive with a range of critters darting across dunes and foraging through foliage.

Many of the animals that live in the arid zone are nocturnal. This means that they sleep during the day and are active during the night when the weather is much cooler. It is often mammal species that are nocturnal; however reptiles and amphibians may also become more active at night during the warmer months.

So now that we know the animals are only seen at night, where do they go during the day?

Each of our re-introduced species has a unique home that they can retire to after a long night. These homes keep the animals safe and cosy, and can house one or a large number of critters, depending on the animal and its home.



  • The Greater Stick-nest Rat builds its home out of sticks (above). The nest is generally built around a bush and can be over 1 metre in height. Sticks and branches are dragged to the site in the rat’s mouth, with larger branches gnawed down to a manageable size and added to the nest. The sleeping sites within the nest contain soft vegetation and grass, with tunnels built from the outside to reach these points. 
  • Burrowing Bettongs construct a burrow in deep loam or sandy areas, and are the only member of the macropod family to shelter underground. The burrows often form warrens, which have multiple entrances. The floor of the warren is lined with vegetation to create nests for sleeping. Complex warren systems can have 11 or 12 entrances. One warren system found on Barrow Island had 120 entrances with about 60 bettongs living in it!  
  • Bilbies are powerful diggers, constructing a spiralling burrow which may be 3 metres long and up to 1.8 metres deep. The entrance to a bilby burrow is often under a small shrub and at Arid Recovery is usually left open. At other locations bilbies often backfill their burrow entrance, possibly to protect it from predators or to regulate the burrow temperature. Bilbies frequently dig new burrows and occasionally return to their old ones.
  • The Western Barred Bandicoot (WBB) shelters during the daylight hours in a nest. It digs a shallow hollow in the ground, usually under a low shrub and fills the hollow with sticks and leaves. A single entrance and exit point is disguised from predators using leaves, and the WBB will make a quick exit if disturbed by predators. Some WBB’s will use the same nest repeatedly over the course of the week, while others will move to a new nest each night. If caught out in the open a bandicoot will use another animal’s burrows to shelter in until the threat has gone away.

Many other animals are known to live underground at Arid Recovery, including sand goannas, scorpions, spiders and the incredible Trilling frog.

Museum Madness

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The South Australian Museum carefully wrapped specimens and put exhibits in boxes as they headed on the road for the last of their ‘Out of the Glass Case’ roadshow for the year 2013. Roxby Downs was the final destination for the travelling roadshow, and how lucky we were to have these special visitors.

Bringing with them a range of staff with expert knowledge on all areas including birds, spiders, fossils, and geology, the Roxby Downs community was treated to a night of discovery and wonder as the Area School library doors opened to the public for a Twilight Event. Arid Recovery was fortunate to be invited to participate in the Twilight Event, which enabled community members to see educational displays and participate in hands-on learning in a fun environment.

A regular at expos and events, Arid Recovery’s skins and skulls display proved again to be a hit, with many bidding scientists amazed at how light weight an emu’s skull is and how small a cat’s head must be! Visitors to the stall also had the opportunity to touch a range of furs, and distinguished between native and introduced animals by looking at the patterns and colourations on the animal’s coat.

The Arid Recovery office pet, Bruce the juvenile bearded dragon also came along for the evening. Bruce was extremely popular with the children, and his presence made every small child want to share their story about how they saw a lizard in their backyard in Roxby!


Local kids examine the skins and skulls display 

“Opportunities like the Community Twilight Event don’t come by Roxby Downs very often. It was fantastic to see so many members of the local community embracing the evening and bringing the kids down to learn something new and exciting,” explained Anni Walsh, Education and Community Officer. “Visiting these educational displays encourages children to use their imagination, and open their eyes to appreciate the natural wonders of our world.”

Highlights of the evening included blowing into the conical shell ‘trumpet’, witnessing fossils found in the Flinders Ranges region billions of years ago, seeing the egg castings of baby trap door spiders, touching a 10 foot python and of course the 'emu news' puppet show!

If you want to find out more about educational opportunities at Arid Recovery email education@aridrecovery.org.au

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