Nineteen sand dune crossings
and ten flat tyres!
The Punmu men’s ranger team has had a great start to the year with the field season getting into full swing at the start of March despite the hot weather.
The first trip of the year saw the rangers following a pujiman walking track mapped by elders during helicopter mapping work in 2016 and 2017. The team travelled north of Punmu up the Wapet Road before cutting cross-country to the first water hole at Pirningkujarra. They then followed the walking track south towards Punmu visiting each water hole along the way, crossing nineteen sand dunes and having ten flat tyres as they went! Due to the inaccessibility of the area it was the first time for many of the rangers to visit these sites. The trip also provided an excellent opportunity to conduct prescribed burning at the same time. Rangers located two mankarr (Greater Bilby) sites in the area, adding to their understanding of the distribution of the species on Martu country.
The first of several planned hand pump installations at bores in the Punmu area have begun. Rangers and the Punmu community are keen to have the bores functioning to help Martu access remote areas. Razorblade Bore was chosen as the first site. The rangers safely removed the broken windmill gear from the bore using a block and tackle before lowering the pump and pipework for the new hand pump. This was the first time for the rangers to undertake bore work and their confidence increased as they learnt the necessary skills and took the lead. Working an eleven-hour day in forty degrees heat the team successfully installed the hand pump and plans are now underway for the next project.