Cross-cultural collaboration leads to greater understanding of the rare Spectacled Hare-wallaby in the west Kimberley, Western Australia

Michael L. Wysong, Pius Gregory, Alexander W.T. Watson, Leigh Ann Woolley, Christopher W. Parker

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Abstract

Cross-cultural collaboration between Yawuru Country Managers (Rangers) and WWF-Australia ecologists led to new detections of the Spectacled Hare-wallaby (SHW), (Lagorchestes conspicillatus) in the west Kimberley region of Western Australia where it was presumed to be locally extirpated. This collaboration relied on the expertise of the Yawuru Country Managers to select specific locations for targeted field surveys and resulted in the confirmation of SHW on the Yawuru IPA for the first time in a decade. Subsequent remote camera trap surveys over a larger area included collaboration with two additional neighbouring Indigenous ranger groups, Karrajarri and Nyikina Mangala. These surveys investigated the spatial and temporal relationship between SHW and other mammals which may threaten (e.g., feral Cat [Felis catus], Dingo [Canis familiaris dingo]) or compete (e.g., Agile Wallaby [Macropus agilis]; Cattle [Bos taurus]) with them. We found a negative relationship between SHW and cat activity, suggesting that cats may limit the activity or abundance of SHW. Temporal portioning was evident between SHW and both Cattle and Agile Wallaby suggesting that SHW may avoid times when these species are most active. Further, we found a negative relationship between SHW occurrence and distance to fire scar edge burnt in current or previous fire season. This edge habitat is likely important to SHW because they may require recently burnt areas to forage and dense unburnt areas to shelter. This project highlights the benefits of cross-cultural research and monitoring partnerships with Indigenous rangers as active observers and managers of their traditional lands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Management and Restoration
Volume23
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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