Community science project to protect threatened species

A threatened species community project officer has been appointed to work with the community to collect data about greater gliders, powerful owls and phascogales in the Wombat State Forest.

The Upper Campaspe Landcare Network has employed Brad Blake as its project officer.

Mr Blake is experienced in monitoring threatened species. 

Threatened Species Officer, Brad Blake, is examined by a phascogale, one of the species he will be working with the community to find in our region. Picture: Sandy Scheltema

Threatened Species Officer, Brad Blake, is examined by a phascogale, one of the species he will be working with the community to find in our region. Picture: Sandy Scheltema

He has worked across Australia in various roles involving the protection of native species, as well as working with communities to raise awareness of Australia’s declining biodiversity.

Over the past two years, Mr Blake has surveyed Victorian forests for threatened species, with a focus on the greater glider, powerful and barking owls and spotted-tailed quoll.

Recently, Mr Blake discovered new populations of greater glider and long-nosed bandicoot in West Gippsland. He also confirmed old records of the greater glider species inhabiting the Wombat State Forest. 

Mr Blake will be running spotlighting and call back surveys for greater gliders and powerful owls in addition to installing remote cameras to detect the presence of phascogales. 

“It’s extremely important that we continue to collect data on the threatened species of our region so that government and the community can better manage our public and private land.

“This will ensure that species at risk of extinction survive and persist into the future for generations to come,” he said. 

A forum will be held on March 10 from 2pm-5pm at Newham Mechanics Hall. 

The forum will be attended by senior threatened species officer from the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW, Dr Todd Soderquist, who will be imparting knowledge gleaned from years of research and radio tagging powerful owls and phascogales in Central Victoria. 

Dr Ross Goldingay, editor of Australian Mammalogy and professor at Southern Cross University, is an expert on gliders and will also be present. He has pioneered a successful method for gliders to safely cross major roads. 

Jess Lawton, from Latrobe University will also be present. She is currently conducting research on phascogales in Central Victoria.

“We are hoping landowners who have heard or seen any of these species on their properties come along to the forum to find out how their presence can be verified and entered into the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas to ensure their protection,” said UCLN Landcare facilitator Sandy Scheltema.

The project will run for two years. 

Visit www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/environment-events to book and learn more about the project.

Greater Glider's are one of the species that are part of the citizen's science project to look for threatened species in the Wombat and Cobaw forests. Picture: Matt Wright

Greater Glider's are one of the species that are part of the citizen's science project to look for threatened species in the Wombat and Cobaw forests. Picture: Matt Wright