Many of our rural landholders have expressed interest in monitoring Deer impacts on their properties which will assist with upcoming targeted Deer control programs in the north east of the municipality. Read more about Councils Pest Animal Management Program in Rural News here and in a November blog post here. Please see below updates from the FeralScan team:
FeralScan can now be used to record deer in your local area.
Throughout 2018, we received feedback from many community-groups and landholders about deer populations and the problems they are causing, including browsing damage to orchards, damage to vineyards and gardens, grazing pressure on farms, damage to revegetation programs, damage to fences and farm infrastructure, and motor vehicle collisions (a serious risk to human safety).
In response to this, we have recently developed the DeerScan community resource (available within FeralScan, and via https://hes32-ctp.trendmicro.com:443/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.deerscan.org.au&umid=2168678b-1ba7-4889-bbbe-85226593faf1&auth=5c8878f5a6627512371ed70e7aaa571aa249563a-bc2b11732742cab31b417a99d2902d6fab8f7e58 to provide you with a method to easily report sighting and problems with deer. You can record information about any of the 6 deer species currently in Australia, and this information can be supplied to local biosecurity authorities to help with deer management. If you would like to report deer problems, please use the FeralScan website (https://www.feralscan.org.au/), or download the updated App onto your smartphone. Information you record about deer in your local area will be managed securely and discretely. Please visit the website to find out more.
Lastly, on behalf of the FeralScan team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year. It has been a great pleasure working with you throughout 2018. Thank you for your ongoing support and contribution to FeralScan – which now contains over 125,000 records and photographs of pest animals. This information is helping communities and local organisations to reduce the problems caused by pest animals through coordinated best-practice pest management.
Peter West and the FeralScan Team
Any information you can contribute will help to manage this species.
Got a rabbit problem? Join the club.
Deer made themselves at home on your block? You’re not alone.
Fox patrolling your place at night? We’re listening.
Council is showing it’s support for landowners by rolling out a 3-year pest animal management program, funded with the support of the Victorian Government. You may have read all about it in our latest Spring edition of the Rural Newsletter, which can be found here.
If you’d like to see on-ground action, we want to hear from you and your neighbours. Tell us what your pest animal issue is, what you’re currently doing and/or how you’d like to get involved in the program.
Jane and Katherine from the Land Management and Biodiversity Team will host a community drop-in session next week, where you can come at any time to chat about the project. There’ll be plenty of information on pest animals, control options, monitoring and the project area. Details below, we look forward to seeing you then.
What: Community Drop-in Session, Pest Animal Management program
Where: Church Street Park, Church Street Whittlesea,
When: Wednesday 5 December from 9:30am
Rakali, the Australian water-rat, is an attractive and charismatic native rodent that tends to resemble an otter, rather than their pest relatives, the brown and the black rats. The amphibious mammal inhabits rivers, creeks and farm dams; however, they tend to be elusive, which may be why you haven’t spotted one before.
Rakali prefer waterbodies with low-growing dense vegetation close to the water’s edge, and occupy burrows located in creek and river banks, or large hollow logs near the water. They can grow relatively large and can be easily identified by their distinctive white-tipped tail. They are an apex predator in our waterways, with a varied diet including fish, insects, yabbies and waterbirds.
Once hunted for their soft fur, rakali populations declined dramatically until the mid-1900’s, when hunting ceased and populations were able to stabilise. Nowadays, the biggest threat to rakali populations are illegal fishing traps and nets left in waterways, which rakali get caught in and drown. They also experience predation by foxes, cats and dogs.
A recent study looked at 17 years’ worth of recorded rakali sightings across Victoria combining live-trapping and citizen science records. This information was used to examine rakali distribution and habitats. Live trapping upsteam of Toorourrong Reservoir, and records from the Atlas of Living Australia (https://www.ala.org.au/) showed rakali to be present in the City of Whittlesea, albeit in low numbers. Keep an eye out for one on your next visit to the reservoir, and remember to add your sighting to the Atlas of Living Australia.
If you are interested in learning more about the Australian water-rat, you can find the full report HERE. The Australian Platypus Conservancy are holding a rakali information session on Tuesday 24 July (for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Land Management and Biodiversity Team on 9217 2323 or 9217 2147 if you would like to report a rakali sighting or more information on how to make your property rakali-friendly.
The City of Whittlesea’s Green Connected Active and Landcare programs are bringing you a two-day, accredited Farm Chemical Users Course. The course is heavily subsidised at just $30 for both days (fully catered), usually costing around $250.
Don’t miss this opportunity to refresh or learn new skills in Integrated Pest Management, including safe and effective herbicide application. Topics covered include:
For full details and to register, open the course flier HERE
The Upper Goulburn Landcare Network are running a subsidised Farm Chemical Users Course in February. The course runs over two Sundays and includes a 1080 endorsement. For course details see flier below.
We’d like to thank Mark for sending in this inspiring account of trials and tribulations of land management over nearly two decades in Beveridge..
“After building our house approximately 17 years ago we finally moved to our piece of paradise in East Beveridge hills on 21 Acres of mainly cleared land with north & east facing slopes 400m up in the winds….
We set about organizing the areas around the house & fencing off areas in the paddock, got some cattle to hopefully keep the pastures in check & help pay the rates. It seemed like it should work even though we both had “real” day jobs…..
10 years later of drought, depleting pastures (to almost looking like desert in summer), trees falling over, growing kangaroo populations, the day jobs taking all our time (including travel ling away) we realized if we wanted to live by the motto of “leave the land better than when you found it” we had to do something a lot better. We got rid of the cattle to start with.
Approximately 6 years ago we set about communicating with the council & learning their thoughts on what best to do to get the land repaired & back on track & perhaps even establish some agribusiness eventually. One step at a time & first things first.
We attended various landcare & council workshops/field days & applied for the EWG (Environmental Works Grant) to help revegetate remnant areas to provide flora & fauna pathways & shelterbelts also to connect gullies from neighbouring properties & repair the entire property.
We know it’s been proven building biodiversity helps the whole property to recover & build health again. We have planted around 2000 plants, fenced areas off revegetation to discourage kangaroos camping & encourage other flora fauna etc, repaired erosion & pastures.
After the daily mob of 100 kangaroos or so got used to things & stopped killing every plant we put in we saw some progress & noticed an increase in small lizards & birdlife numbers. Then we saw more echidnas & unfortunately wombats. We hadn’t seen jacky lizards for years especially after back Saturday & suddenly one day there was 3 of them sitting on the old fallen tree amongst our reveg area.
All of this got us interested on how we can measure the new growth in total biodiversity. We needed to benchmark from this point & monitor how things are going to see we are on the right track. After many a discussion with the council sustainability guys, other landholders & spotting the odd phascogale & sugar gliders we agreed for council to install their cameras for a couple of weeks to see what we could find. Much to everyone’s delight phascogales were photographed proving the new environment is supporting rare species & helping grow the balance needed for all to succeed.
We have monitored reveg areas growth with drone camera & are now monitoring areas with our own wildlife camera & it’s opened our eyes to exactly how much more wildlife other than wombats & kangaroos are around. We knew they were there but how many?
We have seen significant growth in both vegetation & wildlife mainly in the past 2-3 years after areas finally got established & have also seen pastures next to these areas improve as well with no application of lime or chemicals yet. We have discovered more critters are out there than we imagined & will now continue to monitor all areas of interest including installing nesting boxes (also available through EWG) for the phascogales & gliders, bats etc.
Thanks to the councils team who have been inspiring & encouraging all the way during this time.
The pests are still about…”
All photos courtesy of M. Traynor
Did you know that the Whittlesea municipality supports habitat for Long-nosed Bandicoots? This medium-sized nocturnal marsupial (about the size of a rabbit) has grey-brown fur, a short thin tail, pointy ears, and as the name suggests, a long nose.
You may never see this shy species but their presence may be detected through characteristic foraging signs- small cone-shaped holes in bushland and sometimes lawns and gardens. These holes are dug with the front feet and the snout is used to reach in and detect insects and other small invertebrate prey and hypogeal fungi.
Long-nosed Bandicoots were once widespread and common in forests, woodlands, and heaths of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria but their range and distribution has greatly reduced and in some areas they are now locally extinct.
This reduction in population abundance is occurring despite their capacity for reproduction (females can produce up to four litters per year and have a gestation period of only 12.5 days, one of the shortest known of any mammal), due to numerous threatening processes including, habitat loss and fragmentation, introduced predators (foxes, cats, and dogs), road kill, wildfires and inappropriate burning regimes. The Victorian population is considered to have declined but it does not have threatened species classification, most likely due to insufficient data.
Long-nosed bandicoots rely on a mosaic of vegetation, using open areas for foraging at night and requiring dense understorey vegetation for nesting during the day. The nest is usually made from grasses and other plant material in shallow depressions on the ground amongst thick vegetation. Maintaining areas of low dense understorey cover is critical for their survival.
Whittlesea has very few records of this species and the state-wide flora and fauna database (the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas) lists only seven records of this species between 1971 and 2013.
Foraging signs have been observed recently in our municipality by Council staff and recent footage was captured by a Kinglake West resident- click here to view the footage.
You can help conserve this species and other native fauna by keeping your pets confined to your domestic area, particularly at night, and by not allowing them to roam into areas of potential habitat. If you’re one of the lucky residents that have them within your property, you could consider setting aside areas that provide habitat for native wildlife and establishing a separate area for your pets. Undertaking integrated pest animal control (including foxes) across the landscape will also benefit this species and many other wildlife species.
If you see this species (live or dead animals) or indirect signs of its presence, please report the sightings (including the location description with GIS coordinates if possible, date and any other notes) to Ruth Marr, Council’s Biodiversity Planner, on 9217 2025 or email@example.com. Records of this species can be submitted on your behalf to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.