Hotspot Fire Project

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Helping the North Coast Emu - an Endangered Population

Thursday, 8th November 2012

Helping the North Coast Emu - an Endangered Population

Hotspots is working with the community at Bungawalbin to help manage fire for the iconic Endangered Coastal Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) population. Last census count indicates that only approximately 100 birds within this sub-population inhabiting the coastal parts of the Clarence Valley remain.

Fire plays an important role in maintaining the right type of habitat for the North Coast Emu. Not only does fire promote a diverse shrub layer with fruit and seed bearing native plants for the emu to feed on but also broad-scale high-intensity wildfires have thought to have contributed to their decline, both through destruction of nesting sites and adult mortality. Importantly, like many other landscapes and features of the Bungawalbin, the North Coast Emu is of cultural significance to the Aboriginal Bandjalang people and the neighbouring Yaegl nation.

Working with over 40 various representatives from this community, Hotspots is looking for ways to help to reduce fire risk whilst maintaining a diverse mosaic of post-fire regeneration feeding sites that are likely to be needed to help the survival of this important species. Additionally, Hotspots ecologists are using motion activated cameras (camera traps) to discover which patches of the landscape the emus are using, how they might respond to small regenerating burnt patches and to also learn about the other types of animals that may be using the area (including feral animals such as pigs and foxes which are also having a significant impact on this endangered population).

The next workshop of this two day workshop program will be held in December.

To learn more, read of the recent Rural Weekly media release “Community fires up to save region” or contact John Allen on John.Allen@rfs.nsw.gov.au

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