Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Tracking Cats, Dingoes and Bilbies: Results of a collaborative two-way science project with Wiluna Martu Women Rangers (#384)

Jackie Courtenay 1 , Annette Williams 2 , Yvonne Ashwin 2
  1. Earth Creations, Wattening, Western Australia, Australia
  2. Martu Women Rangers, Wiluna, Western Australia, Australia

Fauna surveys using a modified form of the standardised Moseby, Nano & Southgate 2 ha track plot method were conducted by Martu Women Rangers at twelve sites each at Jundee Pastoral Lease and at Matuwa (formerly Lorna Glen Pastoral Lease, now part of the Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara IPA) within the Wiluna Native Title area, Western Australia. Plot locations were based on sites used in previous research that were culturally acceptable to the Martu women. Three surveys were completed at each site approximately one month apart between late August and early November in both 2015 and 2016.  Each survey involved 4 rangers walking around the 2 ha plot for about 20 minutes recording all observed tracks, scats, burrows and diggings.  The original aim of the surveys was to compare the presence of cats, dogs/dingoes and threatened species (particularly bilbies, Macrotis lagotis) at Jundee with their occurrence at Matuwa, where annual aerial cat baiting and targeted threatened species management (eg translocations) are being carried out. Initial data recorded included presence/absence & estimated freshness of sign for each species, landform, vegetation and fire age. As the work progressed the Martu women’s tracking skills and suggestions for additional information to record resulted in extension of data collection to include, where possible, species abundance estimates, number and age of individual cats/dingoes present and behavioural observations (eg hunting). The results of this work demonstrate the potential to research detailed questions about predator interactions and threatened species management using collaborative two-way science methods.