National recovery plan

Role and interests of Indigenous people

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2.2 Role and interests of Indigenous people

Recovery actions under this plan include consideration of the role and interests of Indigenous communities in the region that the plan pertains to, and this is discussed in the recovery actions. Input and involvement was sought from Anangu indigenous groups that have an active interest in areas through the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management through a series of meetings where comments were sought in relation to the management of the park and fauna such as the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong or banded hare-wallaby. In preparation of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan 2010-2020 the knowledge of elder Anangu about locations of fauna species that have disappeared was recorded. This information was incorporated into the workshop proceedings to identify priority species and set out key principles for the reintroduction of fauna (Gillen et al. 2000).
The Aboriginal Sites Register maintained by the Department of Indigenous Affairs lists significant sites on Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay, due to the presence of human skeletal material, burial sites and artefacts/scatter, and on Barrow Island due to the presence of artefacts/scatter. Significant sites also occur in the vicinity of potential translocation sites on Heirisson Prong, Dirk Hartog Island, Dryandra and Peron Peninsula, due to the presence of skeletal material, burial sites, man-made structures, artefacts/scatter, middens/scatter and a quarry. Not all significant sites are listed on the Register if sites are discovered then traditional owners will be consulted and actions taken to minimise disturbance.

Indigenous people residing in the communities of Denham and Useless Loop in Shark Bay, include members of the Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation based in Denham. The Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation expressed interest in actions associated with the recovery of the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby and their habitat outlined in this Recovery Plan, similar to that of other members of the Shark Bay community.

Two indigenous people from outside the Shark Bay region were employed and trained by CSIRO to assist with management of the Heirisson Prong project. The Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation was involved in the early stages of this process. Indigenous personnel are employed by DEC through the Mentored Aboriginal Training and Employment Scheme (MATES) at Shark Bay, and work programs include involvement in Project Eden activities. The Indigenous Australian Hoult family from Denham were the previous leaseholders of Faure Island, and have maintained an association with AWC, assisting in the management of access to the island and the maintenance of island infrastructure.

2.3 Benefits to other species

Actions associated with the recovery of the western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and banded hare-wallaby may benefit a wide range of other native fauna and flora species, particularly at reintroduction sites.

The control of introduced predators at reintroduction sites will benefit many critical weight range mammal species (small to medium sized mammals weighing between 35 and 5,500 grams, many of which have declined or become extinct in the last 200 years since European settlement; Burbidge and McKenzie 1989). Predator control may also facilitate reintroductions of other species of threatened fauna. For example, greater stick-nest rats Leporillus conditor have been reintroduced at Heirisson Prong (Richards et al. 2001), malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, woylies Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi, quenda Isoodon obesulus fusciventer, greater bilbies Macrotis lagotis and chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii) at Peron Peninsula (Morris et al. 2004), greater bilbies to Dryandra Woodland (N. Marlow4 pers. comm.), greater bilbies and greater stick-nest rats at the ARP (Arid Recovery Project 2002; Arid Recovery 2004), greater bilbies, bridled nailtail wallabies Onychogalea fraenata and brush-tailed bettongs Bettongia penicillata at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, and Shark Bay mice, greater stick-nest rats, burrowing bettongs and banded hare-wallabies at Faure Island (AWC 2002). Numerous threatened mammals have been reintroduced by DEC at other Western Shield sites throughout WA, providing substantial conservation benefits to the nation (Mawson 2004).

The pale field rat Rattus tunneyi has increased in distribution and abundance since the control of introduced predators at Heirisson Prong and the adjacent Carrarang Station, and now represents one of the last remaining arid/semi-arid zone populations of the species. The abundance of a number of species of native marsupial and rodent (little long-tailed dunnart Sminthopsis dolichura, ash grey mouse Pseudomys albocinereus and sandy inland mouse Pseudomys hermannsburgensis) had increased at Heirisson Prong as a direct benefit of fox and cat control, compared with the loss of small mammals in adjacent areas with fox control only (Risbey et al. 2000).
Predator control on Peron Peninsula has been associated with increased abundance of a number of reptile species (e.g. Gould’s monitor Varanus gouldii, bobtail skink Tiliqua rugosa, thorny devil Moloch horridus), the echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus, and several threatened species that occur in the region (e.g. thick-billed grasswren Amytornis textilis textilis, woma python Aspidites ramsayi; C. Sims5, pers. comm.).
The ARR has significantly more vegetative cover and five times the population of small native mammals inside the reserve compared to sites outside the reserve, particularly spinifex hopping mice Notomys alexis and Bolam's mice Pseudomys bolami (Arid Recovery 2004; Moseby et al. 2009).

There are a number of possible negative impacts of recovery actions on non-target species or ecological communities, including the uptake of new, more palatable cat baits by non-target species, the potential for the introduction of disease at reintroduction sites, and the impact of fox and cat baiting programs on the population dynamics of native and introduced fauna. Monitoring to determine the uptake and impact of novel baits by non-target species is required prior to any wide-scale use of baits for management of feral cats. Research into non-target bait uptake was conducted and showed non-target bait uptake to be minimal (Algar and Burrows 2004). The registration of the novel sausage cat bait Eradicat ® is now under consideration by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) (D. Algar6, pers. comm.)

Broadscale baiting for foxes and dingos in Australia, particularly in the arid zone, has led to changes in the abundance of feral cats and rabbits (e.g. Christensen and Burrows 1994; Risbey et al. 1999, Short and Turner 2000, Robley et al. 2002), which in turn has altered interactions between introduced species and native fauna. Land managers must take into consideration the interactions between native and introduced fauna and their habitats, many of which are unknown, when implementing predator control.
Implementation of the disease risk management strategy (Chapman et al. 2008) will benefit a broad spectrum of native species.

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