Protecting bushfire-affected wildlife on Kangaroo Island (KI Friends of Parks Western District)
During the 2019-2020 bushfires that burnt half of Kangaroo Island (KI), the project and its partners started building artificial shelters (nest boxes) to be erected in areas of burnt native vegetation where natural nesting and roosting sites had been destroyed. The boxes were designed primarily to meet the needs of pygmy-possums (two species) and insectivorous bats (seven known species). Many volunteers and community and charity workshop sheds on KI and the mainland were involved in constructing the boxes, which were all processed at the “Box Pentagon” (KI Dance School) for numbering, measuring, and disinfection. Volunteers deployed a record 750 nest boxes across 13 private properties on the island (most seriously affected by the bushfires) and have now commenced monitoring the boxes.
Our project is unique because it is a community-owned wildlife protection and research venture. All boxes are geolocated, associated with physical and vegetation data, and monitoring is conducted following scientific procedures. Box maintenance is also undertaken. The motivation of volunteers comes not only from their impact on wildlife protection, but also their participation in generating knowledge that will be used in future bushfire resilience. Our project targets an important question: “what nest boxes work where for which species?” We aim to continue to monitor the nest boxes with the help of field leaders, so that we may learn from our intervention post-bushfires.
Read more about this grant in this article in The Islander newspaper.