Marsupial conservation in Western Australia
This type of trip is ideal for people who are unable to take very long periods off work but who are interested in volunteering to work with communities in need, or in wildlife conservation. These shorter trips combine volunteering with an opportunity to see the main sights in destinations.
How Marsupial conservation in Western Australia makes a difference
This project will enable broad areas within the Walpole Wilderness to be surveyed for three threatened marsupial species - the quokka, quoll and quenda - in an effort to improve knowledge of their distribution and conservation status. The outcome will be improved management of critical habitat, which will maximise the likelihood of the long-term survival of not only these three threatened species, but also the unique Western Australian ecosystems of which they are a part. Specific aims are:
(1) To determine the distribution and occupancy patterns, population density, population health and conservation status for the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), quoll (Dasyurus geofroii) and quenda (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer) in the Walpole Wilderness Area.
(2) To improve knowledge of important ecological interactions, current threats, habitat requirements and movement patterns for these species.
(3) To create or improve management plans to ensure the survival of these threatened species in the wild.
The quokka is a small wallaby in the kangaroo family (Macropodidae) and listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. It is restricted to the south west of Western Australia and two near-shore islands. On the mainland, quokkas are threatened by introduced animals such as foxes, cats and feral pigs, loss of habitat, inappropriate fire regime and climate change. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) of Western Australia (WA) has undertaken some monitoring of quokkas in the Walpole Wilderness area. This work has established that quokkas currently occur at low densities in fragmented populations throughout the Walpole Wilderness. More work is required to quantify distribution, abundance and threats, and to determine whether the fragmented populations function as a meta-population or individual groups that need to be managed as isolated populations.
The Western quoll or chuditch is the largest carnivorous marsupial found in Western Australia and is also listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Populations of this species declined dramatically after European settlement due to habitat loss and introduction of the European fox. By the time that a recovery plan was prepared in 1994, the chuditch was considered to occur in just 5% of its original range. Chuditch are known to be sparsely distributed over large areas and a considerable amount of effort is required at these locations to confirm the presence of the species. In the Walpole Wilderness there are only two known populations of chuditch, but there are large areas of forest that have never been surveyed. The animals have large home ranges and as population dynamics change, DECís long-term monitoring transects no longer cross the home range of individual animals. Broader surveys are therefore required to determine distribution, abundance and population health of this species in the Walpole Wilderness.
The quenda or Southern brown bandicoot is a small omnivorous marsupial that has a special Ďconservation dependentí status in Western Australia. The main threats to its survival are the continued loss of habitat through urban expansion and clearing, and their susceptibility to predation and disturbance by introduced animals such as foxes, cats and pigs. Records collected by DEC over the past few years suggest that this species is declining in the Southern Forests of Western Australia and it is important to determine whether this observation is reflected in population trends and if so what the causal factors are.
We are a multi-award winning (including multiple awards from Responsible Travel), not-for-profit organisation committed to running real wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth and says
Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions, promoting sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Our goal is to make, through our expedition work, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. We believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study and by actively involving them out in the field, where there is conservation work to be done.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and try our best to ensure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our planet.
To achieve this we will wherever possible: + collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field + collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way + operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies + publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.
Our partner on this project is the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). DEC has the lead responsibility for protecting and conserving the Stateís environment on behalf of the people of Western Australia. This includes managing the stateís national parks, marine parks, conservation parks, state forests and timber reserves, nature reserves, marine nature reserves and marine management areas. The departmentís key responsibilities include roles in conserving terrestrial and marine biodiversity, facilitating visitation and protecting, managing, regulating and assessing many aspects of the use of the Stateís natural resources.
All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.
Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.
Where applicable, team members are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.
Briefings before the start of the mission and leaders during the mission highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to team members.
Marsupial conservation in Western Australia