The Karoo Predator Project down under

Last July, The Karoo Predator Project was at the 12th International Mammalogical Congress in Perth, Australia. Happening only every 4 years, the Congress provides “an important forum for professional mammalogists wishing to remain updated on the last marine and terrestrial mammal conservation topics, research concepts and techniques.”

Painting of a numbat, the Western Australian state emblem, in a car park in Freemantle.

Western grey kangaroo at Dryandra Woodland, Western Australia.

The theme of IMC12 was “Advances in mammalogy in a changing world” and encouraged discussion of future challenges and novel solutions in mammal biology, conservation and management. The Congress offered different symposia and it is under the “Advances in research and conservation of small African carnivores” that Marine gave a talk on caracals on farmland in the Karoo. The symposium was organized and chaired by Dr. Paula White from the University of California Los Angeles, USA and by Dr. Emmanuel Do Linh San from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa (more about one of their interesting projects in a future blog post).

Marine’s presentation about caracals on farmland during the IMC12 in Perth, Australia.

The Congress was a great opportunity to listen to and meet prominent international  speakers. It was particularly interesting to meet Professor Claudio Sillero, Chair of the IUCN Canid Specialist Group, who talked about the biology of Canids in human-dominated landscapes. Other talks about coyotes, dingoes and African carnivores were all relevant to the Karoo Predator Project. The Congress was also a great opportunity to attend talks about other subjects.

Dr. Benjamin Allen’s presentation on dingo conservation in Australia.

Plenary speaker Prof. David Mcdonald talking about “The paradigmatic lion: From social biology to social media” at the IMC12 in Perth, Western Australia.

Attending the IMC12 in Perth also gave the chance to explore the surroundings of Perth and to join some of the mid- and post-conference tours organized for the occasion. It was an amazing experience to meet the quokkas of Rottness Island, to visit the endangered native species breeding programme of Perth Zoo and to go on a nocturnal tour at Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Inc to spot woylies, bilbies and boodies (you should Google these creatures!).

Quokka on Rottness Island, Western Australia.

The post-conference tour at Dryandra Woodland, a valuable nature conservation area featuring the largest remnants of original vegetation in the Wheatbelt, was particularly interesting. Along with the other researchers, we visited the Barna Mia exclosure that aims to protect endangered native wildlife from introduced predators, we trapped for woylies and possums, and did some birdwatching. We even found the strange tawny frogmouth during the last evening of our stay! But the highlight of the tour was certainly to capture and radio-track Western Australia’s state emblem, the numbat.

Exclosure to protect endangered numbats and woylies from stray cats’ and red foxes’ predation.

The top of the fence is floppy to prevent predators from climbing on it.

The bottom of the fence is made of an anti-dig apron anchored to the ground with metal pieces.

A female numbat equipped with a radio-tracking collar. Numbats are endangered due to the predation of introduced carnivores.

The Karoo Predator Project thanks all the people who made this trip possible and who shared their experience about the incredible native Australian wildlife.

 

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