Martu rangers develop new bilby survey methodology

The Jigalong team points to a freshly excavated mankarr burrow found during surveys. This area supports a permanent population of mankarr

The Jigalong team points to a freshly excavated mankarr burrow found during surveys. This area supports a permanent population of mankarr

As mankarr (bilby) numbers continue to decline across Australia, KJ ranger teams are working to protect populations of bilbies that occur across their country. Over the past year, the KJ Martu ranger teams have all contributed to developing an updated survey methodology that aims to track trends in mankarr populations on Martu country over time. Ranger teams from Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji helped to design a methodology for finding mankarr that is best suited to KJ rangers and create field resources that assist rangers when they are carrying out surveys. This design process has been assisted by Anja Skroblin from NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

KJ ranger using a field resource that was designed by rangers to record data  

KJ ranger using a field resource that was designed by rangers to record data
 


Jigalong women’s ranger team trialled the survey technique over four days in September, with seventeen rangers participating. The Jigalong team first revisited an area of mulga woodland where mankarr have been in residence for more than a year. At that site the more experienced rangers taught those who were still learning how to identify mankarr burrows, diggings, tracks and scats, and how to identify some of the grasses and other foods that mankarr eat. 


The team visited mulga, sand plain and claypan habitats near Jigalong where they practised carrying out surveys and habitat assessments, and identified what management actions were needed at each site to keep country healthy for mankarr and other wildlife. Jigalong and the other ranger teams will build on this training to monitor mankarr populations and habitat suitability over the next years.