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Land Management rangers learn about monitoring Nganamara Print E-mail

October 2014

October is Nganamara (Malleefowl, Leipoa ocellata) month for APY Land Management. Nganamara are a flightless bird endemic to Australia which is listed as vulnerable under both the Australian Government’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act. They were once common across the rangelands and woodlands of Australia but their numbers and range are now much diminished due to habitat loss and feral predator pressure. Like the rest of Australia, Nganamara numbers have dramatically reduced across the APY Lands.

APY Land Management has been working for many years to monitor and protect any remaining Nganamara. This month, Traditional Owners, Anangu school students and APY Land Management staff have been working together to undertake their annual Nganamara survey. This work involved four of APY’s five Indigenous Protected Areas and many hours driving and walking in very remote parts of the APY lands to revisit and survey all known Nganamara sites. Forty-three nest mounds across Walalkara, Watarru, Apara - Makiri - Punti & Kalka - Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) were monitored.
 
The Nganamara is a bird who likes to live near the Altarpa (Mallee Gum Trees), Tjanpi (Spinifex spp.) and Minyura (Acacia minyura). It builds a big nest on the ground by scraping up dirt and leaves into a mound and the female Nganamara lays her eggs inside.  Nganamara eat insects, bush flowers, seeds and roots, Witita (truffels), Ngapari (lerps) and Tjuratja (sweet nectars) like Ultukunpa (Honey Grevillea). Their method of nesting makes them particularly vulnerable to predators, especially foxes, and so it is important to monitor nests at this time of year when nesting is occurring.

Traditionally Anangu would collect and eat Nganamara eggs. Today Anangu recognise the need to look after the Nganamara. Land Management rangers look after the Nganamara by making sure the country is protected from big bush fires by doing small patch burns in the colder winter months around their habitat. Cats, foxes, goannas and eagles eat Nganamara and their young so Land Management rangers put remote cameras at Nganamara nests to monitor predator numbers and help to inform management decisions.

Land Management rangers from Watarru, Walalkara, Apara-Makiri-Punti and Antara-Sandy Bore IPAs also attended a week-long workshop in Oak Valley community, together with the region’s Natural Resource Management Board – Alinytjara Wilurara. Run by Joe Beneshmesh, a leading Nganamara expert, the APY and Oak Valley rangers learnt a new technique for surveying potential Nganamara habitat for new nesting sites. One of the Watarru rangers, Imitjala Pollard, said “We were happy to go to Oak Valley and learn a new way of looking for Nganamara. We want to take this new information back to Watarru IPA and teach the other rangers what we have learned”.

 

 
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