The Land for Wildlife Top End was successful in receiving a grant from the NT Government’s Department of Environment and Natural resources to carry out a project to allow landholders in the program to monitor wildlife using nest boxes that have been installed for arboreal mammals. With this grant we have purchased 12 motion sensing cameras, and a further 6 with our own funds. These are the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 newly released model!
We have been working with RIEL scientist Leigh-Ann Woolley to choose the best cameras and set up, to record nest box use and arboreal mammals and develop a citizen science style project. The project aims to engage landholders and allow them to know more about arboreal mammals on their property but also add to data and understanding of nest box use and mammal presence in the Top End.
We will lend the cameras in rounds, 3 months at a time to landholders that have installed nest boxes. Once we have captured photographs from the cameras we will have an intern opportunity for a university student to collate and interpret data.
After the first year we will have the cameras as an asset to our program which can be lent to landholders to monitor targeted wildlife species in different ways.
We invited our first group of landholders to a workshop at Riyala in Noonamah to learn about how to install and use the cameras.
We were joined by both Leigh-Ann Woolley and Jenni Risler, who have been studying the Black-footed Tree-rat. Leigh-Ann specifically has been studying nest box use on Coburg Peninsular and helped come up with bracket designs to hold cameras by nest box entrances. Jenni is has been researching the best camera trapping methods- so the perfect combination of assistance for us and our members!
Treenie at Land for Wildlife had made brackets for the cameras, with some landholders keen to try out some other versions.
We had a test camera up on one of the boxes at Riyala, to show everyone the installation set up. After just 3 days there was plenty of possum action caught on camera!
We collectively decided to bait the nest boxes- with glass jars of peanut butter attached to the outside. This would answer two questions-
- Are there arboreal mammals present
- Are the arboreal mammals using the nest boxes (with the constant variable that there is bait nearby to attract them)
Landholders will install cameras for 3 months at a time and with assistance check that they are working. Some landholders attended and received new nest boxes and will set up cameras later in the program.
Ian Morris, who is one of the land managers at Riyala spent the afternoon showing interested landholders around the property an dhow he had restored areas to rainforest from flogged out pasture land.
Thanks also to Riyala for hosting and for making our morning tea look so lovely
Here’s hoping that we capture some Black-footed Tree-rats on camera!