Territory Stories

Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park : Year 3, 2003-04



Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park : Year 3, 2003-04


Watson, Michelle; Woinarski, John Casimir Zichy; Northern Territory. Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




Date:2004-05; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

Summary -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Continuation of a monitoring program that will contribute to the assessment of impacts of cane toads -- 3. Baseline survey of vertebrates at fire monitoring plots -- 4. Investigation of change in vertebrate (especially mammal) species composition at sites sampled in historic surveys -- a. Jabiluka -- b. Kapalga -- 5. Survey of threatened plants -- 6. Investigation of census and trapping methods for feral cats and dingoes -- 7. Training of Parks Australia staff in fauna survey through a field-based camp -- 8. Compilation of data bases and GIS layers showing existing and current fauna records -- Appendix A. Schedule for consultancy RS19 Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park.




Animals -- Northern Territory -- Kakadu National Park

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



v, 57 pages : col. maps ; 30 cm.

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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31 and oats and set for three consecutive nights. A population abundance index (% trap success) was calculated during each trapping session. Re-sampling In September 2003, two of the trapping grids (A and B) used by Friend (19851987) and the Kapalga Billabong grid of Kerle (1983 1985) were relocated and resampled using the same methods as adopted in the original survey. Grids were relocated using archival information and maps provided by Gordon Friend and Anne Kerle. The number and positioning of traps were as per the descriptions provided in published papers. However, at the Kapalga Billabong grid, 50 small Elliott traps were set in addition to the original 30 wire cages to target some smaller mammal species, such as small rodents, that are not readily caught in cage traps. All sites were trapped from the 25 28 September. Trapping results obtained from Grids A and B in 2003 are compared to results from September 1982 while the results from the Kapalga Billabong are compared to Anne Kerles results from September 1981. GPS co-ordinates were collected for each of the three grids to facilitate future revisits if required (see Appendix 4C). Results Very few mammals were trapped at the three grids in September 2003. Over the three nights trapping, no animals were trapped on Grid A and only one Northern Brushtail Possum was trapped on Grid B, giving trap success rates of 0% and 0.4% respectively. Two Agile Wallabies were also observed on Grid B when traps were being checked. Direct comparison with trap success rates for the original work is difficult because raw data from these studies was not available for comparison and because Friend (1985 and 1987) do not present % trap success rates for each trapping period or grid. However, the number of Fawn Antechinus and Black-footed Tree-rats known to be alive across the study area in September 1982 was two and three respectively. These figures had declined dramatically during the course of Friends three-year study period, from a peak of 34 Fawn Antechinus in June 1981 and 17 Black-footed Tree-rats in November 1981. A total of five mammals (one Northern Quoll, one Northern Brown Bandicoot and three Delicate Mice) were trapped at the Kapalga Billabong grid in September 2003. The total trap success for the grid was 2.1% (wire cage trap success rate was 0.8% and Elliott trap success rate was 1.3%). In September 1981, 18 Northern Brushtail Possums, six Northern Quolls and six Northern Brown Bandicoots were trapped on the grid, giving a total (and wire cage) trap success rate of 33.3% (Kerle, unpublished data). At the same site in November 1980, a trap success rate of 18.3% was recorded (Kerle, unpublished data). Discussion and Conclusions The re-sample of small mammal survey sites on Kapalga revealed very few mammals in comparison with previous records. Fawn Antechinus and Black-footed Tree-rats were not caught at sites in which they had once been very common (Friend 1985 1987). Similarly, Northern Brushtail Possums were not captured at the Kapalga Billabong site

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