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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

Cameras Discover New Otways Native Species

A number of animals, reptiles and birds have found to be native to the Otways region in Victoria, after a number of hidden remote monitoring cameras were installed around Great Otway National Park.

The cameras, installed as part of Parks Victoria’s Otway Ark program, will help to protect native small mammal species currently found in the Otways environment, through an invasive predator control program.

373 camera sites took over 140,000 photos over 35 days, capturing native species on camera such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Long-nosed Potoroo, Swamp Antechinus, White-footed Dunnart and Rufous Bristlebird.

Parks Victoria rangers are ecstatic with the initial data, which showcases over 50 different species, that were lured in front of the camera by an oat, golden syrup and peanut butter attractant.

16 small to medium native mammals were identified, including the Bush and Swamp Rat, Agile, Dusky and Swamp Antechinus, White-footed Dunnart, Possums, Gliders, Bandicoots, Long-nosed Potoroo, Koalas, Echidnas, Wallabies, kangaroos, lizards and snakes.

More than 17 bird species were identified including the Satin Bowerbird, Australian Owlet-Nightjar and the Southern Boobook Owl, as well as many more common species such as Rosellas, Kookaburras, Wrens and honeyeaters.

Feral species recorded included fox, feral cat, red and fallow deer, dog, black rat, house mouse, rabbit, one hare, one pig and one cow.

Camera monitoring and identification of species was a combined effort between Parks Victoria rangers, Friends of Eastern Otways, Conservation Ecology Centre, a Gordon TAFE student and community volunteers.

Parks Victoria Otway Ark Project Coordinator, Catherine Longmore said: “Hidden cameras are a fantastic tool as you find out all the species that live in this special environment without having to capture and disturb the animal.

“This initial 12 month data is very encouraging: it is showing species are present which are endangered and extinct elsewhere. "The Great Otway National Park is a special place with a critical role in protecting and conserving small native mammals.

The next stage of the program will involve invasive predator control, with fact sheets and information to be released shortly.

Image Source - Parks Victoria

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