National Multi-species Recovery Plan for the Carpentarian Antechinus Pseudantechinus mimulus, Butlers Dunnart Sminthopsis butleri, and Northern Hopping-mouse Notomys aquilo 2004-2008
Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
Part D: Recovery Objectives, Criteria, Actions and Costs
- Enhance communication about the status of these species, and establish a Recovery Team of interested stakeholders
- Undertake studies necessary to refine management advice
- Manage populations (or threats to those populations) of each of the three species such that the conservation status of the three species becomes secure (not threatened)
[Note on costs: Each species occurs mainly at sites remote from major population centres. Some of the most important populations are on islands for which transport of personnel and equipment is expensive. In most activities described below some component of the estimated cost includes payments to Aboriginal landholders as collaborators in the research and management activities.
1. Enhance communication about the status of these species, and establish a Recovery Team of interested stakeholders
To better communicate information about these species amongst interested stakeholders, and coordinate the implementation of recovery planning.
- formation and operation of a Recovery Team that includes representation of stakeholder groups;
- high levels of awareness of the threatened status of these species amongst stakeholder groups, and substantial involvement of those groups in recovery management.
There are at least three options for composition of a Recovery Team relevant to these three species. These are:
- a specific Recovery Team for each species.
- For northern hopping-mouse, this may include NT Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Queensland Environment Protection Agency, Anindilyakwa Land Council, Northern Land Council, Threatened Species Network, Dhimurru Aboriginal Land Management Corporation, GEMCO, Nabalco and Cape York Land Council;
- For Butlers dunnart, this may include NT Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, WA Department of Conservation and Land Management, Tiwi Land Council, Kimberley Land Council, Wunambal-Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, Sylvatech and Threatened Species Network;
- For carpentarian antechinus, this may include NT Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Queensland Environment Protection Agency, Northern Land Council, Threatened Species Network and Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Association.
- a combined recovery team that considers together all three species; and/or
- a recovery team for threatened native mammals generally across northern Australia.
|operate Recovery Team||5||5||5||5||5|
- Action 2.1. Evaluate options for increasing efficiency of sampling protocols for northern hopping-mouse and Butlers dunnart at sites of known occurrence
- Action 2.2. Advance knowledge of the geographic distribution of each species, particularly with reference to persistence in regions around the type locality
- Action 2.3. Undertake detailed autecological study of each species in order to more specifically identify impacts of threatening processes
To undertake sufficient research to allow a reasonably informed assessment of the total population, population trends, distribution, habitat suitability, and susceptibility to threatening processes for each of the three species.
- Knowledge gained will have been sufficient to substantially refine management priorities and guidelines
Action 2.1. Evaluate options for increasing efficiency of sampling protocols for northern hopping-mouse and Butlers dunnart at sites of known occurrence
Sampling techniques used in conventional wildlife survey appear to be unsuitable for these two species. To detect the species reliably, more targeted sampling will be required. The action described here involves experimentation with a range of different sampling procedures (including different sizes and shapes of pitfall traps, and different baits) to attempt to identify a sampling protocol for these two species that can be used to reliably detect presence and can provide an index of relative abundance.
|assess sampling techniques for northern hopping-mouse||8||5||0||0||0|
|assess sampling techniques for Butlers dunnart||8||5||0||0||0|
Action 2.2. Advance knowledge of the geographic distribution of each species, particularly with reference to persistence in regions around the type locality
In part based on improvements in sampling methodology developed in Action 2.1, this action seeks to better circumscribe the known distribution of each species, and particularly to evaluate whether the species continue to be found around their type localities (north Kimberley for Butlers dunnart; Cape York Peninsula for northern hopping-mouse, and Alexandria for carpentarian antechinus), and other potentially suitable sites (e.g. coastal north-west NT mainland for Butlers dunnart, rocky ranges of the NT Gulf mainland for carpentarian antechinus, islands around Groote Eylandt for northern hopping-mouse)
|distributional survey for northern hopping-mouse||0||20||10||0||0|
|distributional survey for Butlers dunnart||0||15||10||0||0|
|distributional survey for carpentarian antechinus||0||10||10||0||0|
Action 2.3. Undertake detailed autecological study of each species in order to more specifically identify impacts of threatening processes
There have been no substantial ecological studies undertaken on any of these species, consequently the information currently available on diet, habitat requirements, resource availability, breeding biology and responses to putative threatening processes is insufficient to prescribe management actions with any confidence. This action describes basic autecological study for each species, with that study considering each of the aspects listed above.
|assess diet, habitat, resource availability, breeding biology and threats for northern hopping-mouse||0||35||35||35||0|
|ditto Butlers dunnart||0||35||35||35||0|
|ditto carpentarian antechinus||0||35||35||35||0|
Action 2.4. Establish monitoring programs to report on trends in the abundance of each species, and responses to management actions.
In at least one site for each species, establish and implement a monitoring program that provides sufficient information to describe long-term trends in abundance and responses to management actions. Until such time that distributions are better known (Action 2.2 above), the most suitable such sites are probably North Island (Barranyi NP) for carpentarian antechinus, Melville Island for Butlers dunnart and Groote Eylandt and/or Nanydjaka IPA for northern hopping-mouse. Monitoring activity should be every two years, except where additional monitoring may be advantageous in order to describe short-term responses to management actions (e.g. experimental fires).
|establish monitoring program for northern hopping-mouse||0||15||0||10||0|
|ditto Butlers dunnart||0||15||0||10||0|
|ditto carpentarian antechinus||0||15||0||10||0|
3. Manage populations (or threats to those populations) of each of the three species such that the conservation status of the three species becomes secure (not threatened)
- Action 3.1. Maintain and enhance habitat suitability, through fire management
- Action 3.2. Minimise impacts of predation by feral cats
- Action 3.3 Minimise impacts of acute land-use factors
- Action 3.4. Monitor management actions and the responses of these species to those actions, and thence adapt and refine management practices
To implement management that results in substantial benefit to populations of these species.
- Threatening processes are ameliorated, and management implemented to benefit each species;
- Conservation status of all three species is improved, to not threatened status.
For each of the three species, the preferred fire regime is not known with any certainty. However, by analogy with better known species with similar ecologies, it is likely that frequent, extensive, hot (late Dry season) fires reduce habitat suitability and may result in increased direct mortality. Small fires that promote a mix of burnt patches and patches unburnt for various ages are more likely to increase habitat suitability. Most conservation reserves in northern Australia, and many Aboriginal lands, are now being managed to attempt to implement such fine-scale regimes and minimise risks of extensive destructive fires. As such, fire management specifically for these three species should be capable of being insinuated into existing management planning that applies more broadly for conservation reserves and Aboriginal lands in much of northern Australia.
|implement fire management programs for northern hopping-mouse||0||10||10||10||10|
|ditto Butlers dunnart||0||10||10||10||10|
|ditto carpentarian antechinus||0||10||10||10||10|
Currently, there is no broad-scale application of control mechanisms for feral cats in northern Australia, and there is some uncertainty about whether such control is practical. While it is desirable for biodiversity conservation to control feral cats in northern Australia, a more practical immediate action would be to maintain the cat-free status of some existing sites (islands) and attempt to eliminate cats from sites where this is most achievable. All three species considered here occur on islands but, unfortunately cats are known to occur on most of these islands (Bathurst and Melville Islands, on which Butlers dunnart occurs; Vanderlin, Centre and South-west Islands on which the carpentarian dunnart occurs; and Groote Eylandt on which the northern hopping-mouse occurs). Of the known range of these species, this leaves only one island, North Island (on which carpentarian antechinus occurs), that is possibly cat-free (although even this status is uncertain). This action seeks to:
- assess whether cats are present on North Island;
- if not, to communicate widely with residents of, and visitors to, North Island about the detriment posed by introduction of cats;
- attempt to control cats on at least the smaller islands that are known to support populations of any of these three mammal species (Vanderlin, South-West and Centre); and
- examine whether northern hopping-mouse occurs on any cat-free islands around Groote Eylandt.
Results from these actions will be reviewed in 2008, to examine the need for and practicality of more extensive campaigns of cat control.
|assess whether cats are present on North Island||5||0||0||0||0|
|communicate widely with Aboriginal land-owners and others about risks posed by cats to the conservation values of the Pellew Islands||10||5||5||5||5|
|cat control on Pellew Islands||0||20||20||15||10|
|survey for occurrence of cats and hopping-mice on satellite islands around Groote Eylandt||0||15||15||0||0|
There is some risk of at least localised detriment to northern hopping-mouse and carpentarian antechinus from mining activities and to Butlers dunnart from land clearing and forestry activities. Assessing and minimising such risks requires improved communication with, and participation of, the industry groups, fine-scale distributional information, and provision of specific management advice to these ventures, appropriate for inclusion within the environmental management planning process for the operations. This action recognises that the existing ventures have been approved appropriately under a range of impact assessment regulations, and does not propose to revisit such assessment. Rather, it seeks to provide the tailored advice that is needed to minimise such impacts, and enhanced consideration of the conservation status and requirements of these species in any further related development proposals.
|assessment of fine-scale distributional patterning and habitat use for northern hopping-mouse in and around development areas of Groote Eylandt and NE Arnhem Land||0||20||20||10||10|
|ditto for Butlers dunnart on Melville Island||0||20||20||10||10|
|ditto for carpentarian antechinus around Mt Isa||0||20||20||10||10|
Action 3.4. Monitor management actions and the responses of these species to those actions, and thence adapt and refine management practices
The set of recovery actions described above are those considered most appropriate for recovery, but this is based on the very limited information currently available. There is a need to monitor how these actions are implemented and then to measure the extent of response to these actions from the three mammal species; for such evaluation is necessary to continually improve management practice.
|parameterise management actions, and record management actions appropriately||5||5||5||5||5|
|assess improvements in habitat quality or threat abatement arising from each management action||10||10||10||10||10|
|assess changes in abundance and/or distribution arising from each management action||10||20||20||20||20|
|for northern hopping-mouse||8||120||90||65||20||303|
|for Butlers dunnart||8||100||75||65||20||268|
|for carpentarian antechinus||15||125||100||85||35||360|
|for generic activities||30||40||40||40||40||190|