Poor translocation success of E. s. badia highlights the need for improved monitoring and assessment of the species’ fundamental niche parameters. Currently, there is no understanding of the specific habitat and behavioural requirements of this subspecies.
To investigate their specific habitat and behavioural requirements, in the following stages:
- What are the biotic and abiotic requirements for colony existence?
2. How does colony behaviour influence site establishment and persistence?
3. How are post-release survival and dispersal affected by pre and post release management?
-Visual identification and metabarcoding of scat and stomach contents to determine diet.
-LiDAR scanning of log complexes to analyse specific characteristics that can predict occupation by E. s. badia.
-Camera trapping and bait experiments to determine severity of predation.
-GPS tracking to determine home range overlap.
-Pitfall and camera trapping to determine colony composition.
-Translocation experiments to determine the importance of soft release and group composition.
The analysis was successful in identifying significant microhabitat requirements for the Western Spiny-tailed Skink, to inform optimal translocation site selection and modification.
Presentations were held at the National Malleefowl & WA Threatened Species Forum in 2021. Details of findings were presented in the scientific paper, ‘Revealing microhabitat requirements of an endangered specialist lizard with LiDAR, this is currently under review for publication by Scientific Reports.
Case Study: the Western Spiny-tailed Skink on track for submission in November 2021.
This project has directly informed management recommendations to improve the likelihood of Western Spiny-tailed Skink translocation success in the future.
An additional outcome was the opportunity to meet and work with Badimia Elder Darryl Fogarty as the Western Spiny-tailed Skink represents Mr Fogarty’s family totem. It allowed Ms Bradley and Mr Fogarty to work on an article for ‘The Conversation’, bringing together traditional knowledge and western science to conserve a threatened totem. (http://theconversation.com/saving-these-family-focused-lizards-may-mean-moving-them-to-new-homes-but-thats-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds-162998) (co-authored by Holly Bradley, Bill Bateman and Badimia elder Darryl Fogarty.
This project has illustrated the use of LiDAR as a novel technique to monitor the specific microhabitat requirements of an endangered reptile endemic to the Mid West. The results of this microhabitat characterisation, as well as determination of important food plants from the diet analysis, will help maximise the likelihood of success for future translocations of the endangered skink, as well as help inform the habitat required for recreation during future mine site restoration activity.
- OrganisationCurtin University