In 2017 we began assisting Parks Victoria with a research project designed to assess the population trends of native and introduced grazing animals on the Yanakie Isthmus at the northern end of the Prom.
Parks Victoria has a long term plan to restore the the coastal grassy woodland habitat on the Isthmus. They want to encourage the growth of grasses and herbs between dunes while removing infestation of Tea Tree and Coast Wattle which which have flourished after recent destructive wild fires and threaten to overwhelm the area.
The population of different grazing animals – wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, deer and rabbits – have a direct influence on the recovery of grasslands. The University of Melbourne is advising Parks Victoria on a project to monitor these populations by counting animal scats. Volunteers are used to collect data from the field at six week intervals during the cooler months. We visit marked plots to identify and count grazing animal pellets and also to remove pellets from the plot so that they are not double counted on the next visit – that’s why some refer to us affectionately as the “dung flingers'” Rangers can use this data to assess the size the the animal populations and trends.
If you’d like to learn a lot more about project, come join us in 2020.