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Creative conservation in action: innovative and adaptable
Different wildlife and ecosystems have their own unique needs and challenges and the success of any conservation strategy depends on how well suited it is for the situation in question
With increasing understanding of the behaviour of many endangered species, novel and often quite ingenious ways to enhance conservation of specific species are being adopted.
In this series we will present a wide range of conservation projects, that all have in common the successful application of innovative strategies, specifically developed or adapted to their specific animals and habitats.

This is creative conservation in action
  Documentary: Creative Conservation in action: innovative and practical
A new 30 minute research documentary that showcases three outstanding Australian conservation programs. Each built on detailed understanding of the natural behaviours of the wildlife to develop a practical innovative approach. The presenters have drawn on their first hand experiences as leaders in each of the programs.

  Scent Packing: behavioural methods to reduce impacts of invasive species on native fauna
Peter Banks, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Sydney, looks at how manipulating animal behaviour can reduce the impacts of invasive species on native fauna. Many predators use olfaction (smell) to find their prey. They hunt using that smell and when that hunting becomes unprofitable (e.g. by artificial flooding of an area with the odour usually associated with their prey) they rapidly learn to not pursue that cue any more, ignoring those olfactory dead-ends. Another part of the research is aimed at manipulating specific behavioural interactions to stop reinvasion of an introduced pest. After a successful pest control program, a population vacuum is created and since there will be lots of habitat without competitors, the pests move back in quite rapidly. However the presence of local competitors can block invasion and so should also block reinvasion. The research has found that reintroduction of a native competitor (the native bush rat) has made black rats scarce on North Head. Black rats in low numbers do make positive environmental contributions, including to pollination. Behavioural interactions are at the heart of the interactions between invaders and natives, and behavioural solutions offer novel ways to change these interactions. Biotic resistance like chemical camouflage and reintroductions makes it much harder for invaders to get a hold on an intact community. Hopefully this new approach in conservation biology will have invasive species scent packing.

  Taking Cane Toads off the dinner menu (new series)
Dr Jonathan Webb and colleagues, from the School of the Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney has worked extensively in the Northern Territory looking at ways to reduce the impact of cane toads on native wildlife. The work has focussed on changing the behaviours of potential toad predators like quolls, so they will not attack or eat toads. The program has met with lasting success. Doctoral researcher, Teigan Cremona reports on her field studies that monitored the taste aversion training through three generations of Northern spotted quoll, that had been reintroduced into Kakadu. However, there are other threats for quoll survival, in particular predation by wild dogs and destruction of shelter and protective habitat by extensive, regular burning of the region.

  Taking the very first steps: extinct to extant (new series)
The night parrot was unknown to science until 1861 when it was described by John Gould. It was widely distributed, inhabiting hummock grasslands and chenopod shrub lands that are typical of almost all the arid and semi-arid parts of Australia. However by 1900 the species was already close to extinction. The only specimen subsequently found was in Western Australia in 1912. Fifty years later, with no confirmed records after that time, in 1962, the night parrot was declared extinct. However …. time and John Young would tell a different tale.

  The Tammar Wallaby project
Peter Clark, Director of Life Science at the Monarto Zoo in South Australia, brings us up to date on an extraordinary double Tasman translocation program that set out to re-establish Mainland tammar wallabies in Australia. By 2008/9 the program had been so successful that the Zoo now only maintains a captive population as an insurance against unexpected disasters affecting their released populations. There are now around of the wallabies in the wild at Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula.

  New strategies for the Corroboree frog
A mountain to climb (down?)
Dr Arthur White, President of the NSW Frog and Tadpole Study Group, explains how creative conservation might enable more populations of corroboree frog to be established in the wild.

  On the right track: the saga of the Regent Honeyeater
Glen Johnson, from the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), outlines an exciting program to monitor the release of captive bred Regent honeyeaters, a nationally endangered bird species. The captive release program is centred on the box ironbark vegetation within the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park, in NE Victoria.  (Beginning of a series on the Regent Honeyeater)

  Goulds Petrel: a long term success story
Until recently, the only place in the world where Goulds Petrel were known to come to land and to breed was Cabbage Tree Island off the NSW coast. By the 1970s, their numbers were found to be falling drastically and the birds were at risk of extinction. Nicholas Carlile, Research Scientist with the (then) NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has been involved in the very long term and highly successful recovery program for the Gould’s petrel: and one that is an outstanding example of effective creative conservation in action.

  Out of the ark
Tim Faulkner, Operations Manager for Devil Ark in New South Wales, explains the plight of Tasmanian devils and the reasons for setting up a program that will save the devil from extinction.

  Pygmy possum magic
Hayley Bates, PhD research student at the University of NSW, discusses an innovative program that may help sustain and enlarge Australia’s population of Mountain Pygmy-possums. They are the only Australian mammal limited in distribution to the alpine-subalpine regions of south eastern Australia, which is part of the reason this possum has gained status as an iconic climate change species. 

  Koala Crossroad
Associate Professor Darryl Jones, from Griffith University, explains how a new Queensland project is looking to make benefits for koala populations damaged by urbanisation - starting with safe passage across main roads

  Lion-hearted efforts
Paul Thomson, Managing Director of the Ewaso Lions Project in Kenya, tracks the development of the initiative which was founded in 2007 to address the serious need for lion conservation in northern Kenya. This began with local community-based lion projects and has now evolved into the Ewaso Lions Project run in the Samburu region of northern Kenya.

  European leadership in fauna crossings
Associate Professor Darryl Jones looks at how Europe is leading the world in fauna crossings, with many ingenious ways to achieve safer, more permeable roads.

  The amazing Compton Road fauna crossing complex (series)
Making a busy highway bigger and busier AND free from road kill.


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