Camera traps in Australia
Of particular interest has been some very rare footage of a dunnart in its natural environment. It is thought to be the Little Long-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis dolichura), very similar to Gilbert’s Dunnart (Sminthopsis gilberti) which is also known to be in the area.
While notoriously difficult to identify – even when held in the hand – the scrubby understory habitat in which this individual was recorded provides additional identification clues. The preferred habitat of the Little Long-tailed Dunnart is low open shrubland or low woodland, the same vegetation type found at this site.
Korrelocking bushland, where this footage was captured, is an 'island' of eucalypt woodland surrounded by a ‘sea’ of wheat cropping paddocks, and has been so for several decades.
Night-time footage of the European red fox (Vulpes vulpes), a major predator and threat to the little dunnart, has also been captured in the same location. In the day-time video footage of the feral fox, the agitated calls of the little blue breasted fairy-wrens can be heard as they angrily respond to the predator in their territory. These calls also serve to alert other blue breasted fairy-wrens of the fox’s presence.
Using the information to work with farmers
WWF's biodiversity conservation projects in the Wheatbelt region of Southwest Australia are increasingly using data like this to inform our best practice management advice to private landholders. Increasingly the people that have farmed these ancient lands for generations, are being recognised as future conservation management custodians who need to be assisted and supported in protecting this important biodiversity.
Knowing how the little long-tailed dunnart uses this fragile remnant is important information for increasing the chance of survival for both the habitat and the species.
WWF’s work in Southwest Australia
WWF is working in some of the worlds’ most contested landscapes for species conservation. Southwest Australia’s endemic fauna have developed specialised relationships with the complex of vegetation communities they depend upon and these biodiversity treasure troves are less widely known about.