World class work
In the face of catastrophic and ongoing mammal declines in northern Australia, the Mayh Recovery Project seeks to improve the status of key mammal species in the 1.4 million hectare Warddeken IPA. Of the species targeted by the project, 30% are listed as threatened in the Northern Territory and nationally. The causes of decline are landscape scale, often insidious and involve the interplay of multiple threats including inappropriate fire regimes, feral herbivores, feral cats, cane toads, weeds and potentially disease.
The Mayh Recovery Project is building a suite of interconnected programs targeted at achieving species recovery through adaptive on-ground management (including fire management and feral animal control) and ecological research.
The bedrock of the Mayh Recovery Project is a long-term ecological monitoring program established in 2017 – the Mayh Monitoring Network. The Network consists of 120 monitoring sites strategically located across the Warddeken IPA based on habitat type, clan ownership and customary knowledge. At each site, five monitoring cameras are deployed for five-week periods, collecting crucial data on species occupancy. 60 sites are monitored per year, so a full monitoring cycle takes two years. This data is fundamental to the monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of Warddeken’s fire, weed and feral animal management activities across the IPA.
28 of the possible 32 mammals we could reasonably expect to detect have been spotted, including ten threatened species such as the Northern Quoll.
Mayh Recovery Project Outcomes 2020-2021
Social outcomes:— The project generates meaningful employment for rangers
— Landowners have greater knowledge of the species on their estates through the reporting generated through the project.
Environmental outcomes:— Increasing the understanding of native animal populations and their population densities (including endemic and threatened species).
— An increased understanding of feral animal populations and their spread across the IPA.
— Informing on-ground conservation management actions to protect threatened species from feral animals as well as landscape-scale processes (such as fire).
Warddeken Land Management Ltd (WLML) contribution comes from government funding (for ranger wages for example) and carbon abatement funding earned through the savanna burning program.
This project employs one ecologist and 40 Indigenous rangers on a casual basis. Most of the workforce are daluk (women) rangers who set up the survey sites, input information captured in photographs into a bilingual database and produce reports in Kunwinjku (a local dialect of Bininj Kunwok) to communicate findings to Traditional Owners.