AWC ecologists capture diversity of wildlife on camera traps in Artesian Range

AWC ecologists capture diversity of wildlife on camera traps in Artesian Range
Charnley River – Artesian Range
Field Program
Science: surveys and research
Golden-backed Tree-rat | Kimberley Rock-rat | Northern Quoll | Wyulda

March 2016: AWC’s recent survey in the Artesian Range has highlighted the rich diversity and abundance of wildlife protected on the sanctuary, recording species like the Sugar Glider, Wyulda, Golden-backed Tree Rat, Kimberley Rock Rat, Northern Quoll and Kimberley Rock Monitor. These animals were recorded on camera traps deployed in an expanded fauna inventory survey program in the heart of one of Australia’s most inaccessible regions, near the northwest Kimberley coast.

Images from a single camera trap showcase the rich diversity of endemic and threatened wildlife in the Artesian Range: Kimberley Rock Monitor, Golden-backed Tree Rat, Northern Quoll, Wyulda and Sugar Glider.

 The survey recorded the first capture for the property of a Northern Blossom Bat, a miniature flying fox which feeds on nectar and pollen, and a nesting Masked Owl in the Artesian Range.

AWC ecologist setting up a camera trap

A Northern Blossom Bat captured near the David Attenborough Field Research Station

The survey also involved a localised trapping effort for the Kimberley Crevice Skink (Egernia douglasi), a lizard known from just a handful of locations in the region. 12 skinks were captured as well as four Giant Slender Blue Tongues (Cyclodomorphus maximus). The Artesian Range protects important populations of several reptile and amphibian species with very restricted geographical ranges in the northwest Kimberley, including the rare Rough-scaled Python (read more in Wildlife Matters Spring 2013).

AWC ecologist with the Kimberley Crevice Skink

The diversity and abundance of wildlife at Artesian Range highlights its importance as a vital refuge for species that are declining across northern Australia. Species like the Golden-backed Tree Rat and Wyulda, which have all but disappeared outside this strip of the northwest Kimberley, flourish in the rugged dissected sandstone of Artesian Range.