Prepared by Martin Schulz and Linda F. Lumsden
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISBN 0 642 55012 3
Part E: Management practices
- Protecting important populations or occurrences
- Protecting and restoring habitat
- Managing and reducing known and potential threatening processes
Many of the Objectives and Actions outlined in Part D are designed to identify currently undetermined threatening processes that are resulting in the decline and westward contraction of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle. Until these processes have been identified the following interim management initiatives and prescriptions are proposed. Activities that may have a significant impact on the Christmas Island Pipistrelle and would therefore trigger the requirement for environmental assessment and approval under the EPBC Act are indicated below (EPBC trigger). Note that this listing is not in order of priority.
- Eradicate all known Yellow Crazy Ant supercolonies.
- Conduct active ground searching for Yellow Crazy Ant supercolonies both in previously infested and unaffected areas, including away from tracks. All supercolonies located to be baited.
- No removal of rainforest within the Christmas Island National Park (EPBC trigger).
- Removal of phosphate from within the Christmas Island National Park to be assessed in terms of impact on the Christmas Island Pipistrelle as outlined in Christmas Island National Park Management Plan (Commonwealth of Australia 2002; page 93) (EPBC trigger).
- In accordance with the EPBC Act any action which is likely to have a significant impact on the Christmas Island Pipistrelle through removal of primary rainforest or secondary rainforest regrowth on vacant crown land or leasehold land must be referred to the Commonwealth Environment Minister to determine whether approval is required under the EPBC Act. Determining whether an action is likely to have a significant impact needs to include consideration of suitable roosting and foraging habitat. All areas of primary rainforest and advanced secondary rainforest regrowth (e.g. > 30 years old) require a detailed appraisal of the vegetation to determine its potential to provide roosting sites. This is to be based on the current knowledge of roosting habitat as outlined in Lumsden et al. (1999), or further information as it comes to hand. Areas supporting primary rainforest, or secondary rainforest regrowth of any age, need to be assessed for foraging habitat, by sampling with bat detectors, using the technique outlined in Appendix One.
- Conduct monitoring for the pipistrelle using the methodology as described in Appendix Two.
- Identify sections of roadways with regular night-time traffic frequently used by bats using a hand-held bat detector.
- Determine whether areas with extensive bat activity (as recorded during driving transects by Lumsden et al. 1999) have frequent night-time traffic, and establish a set of interim guidelines to minimise the risk of vehicle-related mortality.
- All new roadworks and associated structures to be constructed in a manner to minimise the loss of primary and secondary rainforest habitat (EPBC trigger).
In addition to the measures taken above, the following extra actions are also required to protect and restore habitat:
- Development of new roads and tracks in primary rainforest shall require an environmental impact assessment (EPBC trigger).
- Adoption of strategy to avoid wildfires within primary rainforest and secondary rainforest regrowth.
In addition to the measures taken above, to manage and reduce known/potential threatening processes the following extra actions are required:
- Encourage members of the public to record sightings of the Common Wolf Snake away from the Settlement.
- Collect the gut contents of any road-killed or captured specimens of the Common Wolf Snake for future analysis. Record date and location details.
- Document any observations (including by members of the general public) of Common Wolf Snakes active in the shrub and lower canopy layer of primary rainforest and secondary regrowth. Such observations could provide important baseline data for Action 3.
- Collect any observations (including from the general public) on prey taken by the Nankeen Kestrel.
- Identify the location of Nankeen Kestrel nests. Collect boluses (regurgitated pellets) and prey fragments from around these nests. Preserve all these collected samples for subsequent analysis. Record date and location details.
- Implement the recommendation from the Christmas Island National Park Management Plan (Commonwealth of Australia 2002) to establish an integrated program of 'eradication where possible, or control (to an acceptable level) of introduced or feral animals', especially the Feral Cat and Black Rat. The most important area to target for the Christmas Island Pipistrelle is the western section of the island, from Jacks Hill to the west coast, since this supports all the pipistrelle roosts that have been located in recent years (refer Figure 3).
- Continuation of PAN liaison with Department of Transport and Regional Services, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and West Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to ensure tight quarantine controls to prevent the accidental introduction of new environmental weeds, diseases and exotic pests on the island. Special attention should be given to guarding against the introduction of exotic snakes, such as the Brown Tree Snake that has had a devastating impact on the fauna of other oceanic islands.