KJ ranger teams caring for mankarr (Greater Bilby)


Mankarr (Greater Bilby) used to live across much of Australia. However, population numbers are much smaller now. They are only on Indigenous owned or managed lands in the north-west of their former range. Aboriginal people are responsible for managing the majority of the mankarr population that are now found in small and scattered populations. 

During 2016 and 2017, the ranger teams from Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji contributed to redesigning the mankarr monitoring program. Ranger teams will use this monitoring program this year to assess the status of mankarr populations. The aim of the project is to track trends in mankarr populations on Martu country over time.

The new way of working incorporates Martu understanding of the landscape and harnesses Martu expert knowledge of mankarr. The data collected will be used to tell a bigger story of what is happening across Australia for this special animal. This design process has been assisted by Anja Skroblin from NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Ranger teams play a very important role in saving the mankarr from extinction.  

Martu ways that help mankarr to stay strong:

  • Sharing of detailed and complex Martu knowledge of mankarr.
  • Knowing which country to look for to find the mankarr.
  • Applying Martu expert knowledge and skills, by locating mankarr tracks, diggings, burrows and scats. 
  • Carrying our surveys to record data on mankarr.
  •  Remembering whether mankarr populations and habitat have changed.
  • Making small hunting fires that reduce large hot wildfires and that encourage foods to grow.
  • Encouraging cat hunting.