World class work
The Warddeken Mayh (Species) Project is set to become one of the most important species recovery projects on Indigenous owned land in Australia.
From 1992 to 2012, there has been a 90 per cent reduction in small mammal species richness and abundance in parts of West Arnhem Land.
This figure has led Warddeken to initiate a bold long-term species recovery project, the latest example of Warddeken Land Management Limited’s initiatives to take control of the wellbeing of their country and to support the conservation of its threatened species.
The first phase of this project is a rigorous, in-house scientific monitoring program designed to monitor threatened animal species across the IPA using camera traps.
The program’s objective is to evaluate the impact on identified priority mammal species of the on-ground implementation of fire and feral management strategies identified in the Warddeken IPA Plan of Management. This information will then be used by Warddeken Land Management to adaptively manage the fire and feral animal program delivery to extend the improvements in species recovery and to mitigate any continued species decline.
In 2017 Northern Quoll were recorded on Warddeken, a species thought to be lost to the region.
During 2016-17, Warddeken designed and undertook the first season of deployment of its remote camera monitoring network. 60 sites for cameras were chosen in a way that allowed Indigenous knowledge and values to work side by side with a rigorous scientific site selection process. 300 camera traps were then deployed during March, April and May. Sites were largely only accessible by helicopter and were often reached in difficult monsoonal conditions. Both male and female Warddeken rangers worked with skill and determination to ensure that this stage of the project was completed. Processing of 474,000 images by daluk (women) rangers at Manmoyi into a purpose-built database commenced in June.
With deployment, retrieval and primary data processing by Indigenous rangers, this project marks a significant level of capacity building and skills transfer for the Indigenous people of this area.
The instigation of the Mayh project shows impressive foresight by Warddeken in recognizing the importance of informed and adaptive land management practices to the preservation of species of national significance. Karrkad Kanjdji Trust is proud to support Warddeken in this initiative.