Fauna of the Kimberley
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Fauna of the Kimberley . Thanks to all the traditional owners who guided and assisted during the fauna survey work at Perpendicular Head, Gourdon Bay and Packer Island . Fauna of the Kimberley. Few biological studies – our recent fauna records are valuable

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Fauna of the Kimberley

Thanks to all the traditional owners who guided and assisted during the fauna survey work at Perpendicular Head, Gourdon Bay and Packer Island


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Fauna of the Kimberley

  • Few biological studies – our recent fauna records are valuable

    • ENV Australia surveyed Gourdon Bay, Coulomb Point – Quondong Point, Perpendicular Head and Packer Island

    • ecologia Environment surveyed Koolan Island

    • Biota Environmental Sciences surveyed Wilson Point

  • Other work includes

    • McKenzie (1983) Wildlife of the Dampier Peninsula, south-west Kimberley, Western Australia

    • Mckenzie et al (1995) Biological Inventory of Koolan Island, W.A.


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Fauna of the Kimberley

  • Transitional zone between Western Australia’s desert and tropical zones

  • Much of the fauna is either Torresian (high rainfall tropical Australia), and therefore towards the southern limits of their ranges, or eryean species, and therefore towards the northern limits of their ranges


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Mammal fauna of Conservation Significance

Northern Quoll

  • Endangered under the EPBC Act

  • Rocky areas, gullies and drainage lines

  • Can be common where it occurs, such as Koolan

    Bilby

  • Vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • Once widespread - now sparse desert populations

    Golden Bandicoot

  • Vulnerable under the EPBC Act


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Mammal fauna of Conservation Significance

Golden-backed Tree Rat

  • DEC Priority 4

  • Restricted to the north-west Kimberley

  • Likely to occur in the northern site options

    Water Rat

  • DEC Priority 4

  • More likely to occur in the northern site options

    Little Northern Freetail-bat

  • inhabits mangroves along the northern coast of WA


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Mammal fauna of Conservation Significance

Spectacled Hare-wallaby

  • extremely rare in WA - reduced to a few isolated populations in the Pilbara and the Kimberley

    Scaly-tailed Possum

  • DEC Priority 4

  • Known to occur at the northern site options


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Reptile fauna of Conservation Significance

Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Flatback Turtles

  • Vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • utilise the Peninsula’s beaches (especially Roebuck Bay)

    Dampierland burrowing snake

  • known only from the Dampier Peninsula

  • a DEC Priority 2 species

  • Little is known of its biology

    Airlie Island Ctenotus

  • Vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • known only from Airlie Island and the vicinity of Roebuck Bay


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Birds Birds Birds!

  • and lots of them! ENV reports over 300 bird species from the Dampier Peninsula

  • Red Goshawk - Vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • Painted Snipe - Vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • Yellow Chat - Endangered under the EPBC Act

  • Gouldian Finch - Endangered under the EPBC Act

  • And many, many, many more


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Fauna of the Kimberley

Roebuck Bay

  • a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance

  • a site for migratory shorebirds

  • estimated to support approximately 170 000 migratory shorebirds from19 of the most common species


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Fauna Habitats – Coastal Dunes

  • Common to all sites

  • Fragile and subject to disturbance by vehicles

  • Potential to support Scheduled and Priority Fauna

    • Airlie Island Ctenotus Ctenotus angusticeps (a skink)

    • Dampierland Burrowing Snake, Simoselaps minimus


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Fauna Habitats – Vine Thicket

  • Common to all sites except Gourdon Bay

    • Substrate and location varies significantly comparing Dampier Peninsula thickets from thickets off the peninsula

  • Relict fauna habitat that epitomises the transitional zone from Torresian to Eyrean

  • DEC Priority Ecological Community

  • Most likely habitat to support Short Range Endemic taxa

    • Scorpions and trapdoor spiders

  • Habitat shows clinal variation

    • Promotes biodiversity

  • Not present as a true Vine Thicket at Gourdon Bay


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Fauna Habitats – Samphire and Mangal

  • Present at most sites

  • Prolific at Gourdon Bay, Perpendicular Head and Packer Island

  • High degree of local variation because of number of mangrove species present

  • Supports Scheduled and Priority species including

    • Samphire - Airlie Island Ctenotus, Ctenotus angusticeps

    • Mangrove – Little Northern Freetail Bat, Mormopterus loriae cobourgiana


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Fauna Habitats – Coastal Rock Outcrops

  • Present, though variable, at all sites

  • Important fauna refuges

    • Scaly-tailed Possum

    • Kimberley Cave Bat

  • Poorly represented

    • Present only on exposed headlands

  • Disjunct, therefore likely to harbour local endemics


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Fauna Habitats – Pindan Woodland

  • Very well represented on the Dampier Peninsula

  • Heterogeneous habitat supporting a variety of fauna

    • Arboreal

    • Fossorial

    • Burrowing

  • Highly variable structure because of fire effects

  • Fauna of conservation significance are broadly distributed or transient

    • Australian Bustard, Ardeotis australis


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Fauna Habitats – Tidal Flats

  • Present at most sites

  • Prolific at Gourdon Bay, Perpendicular Head and Packer Island

  • Supports high species richness

  • Supports large populations

  • Unspoilt and undisturbed

  • Very dynamic






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Koolan Island

  • Comparative survey undertaken by ecologia Environment in 2004

  • Trapping sites established in

    • Rocky slopes covered in Eucalyptus woodland

    • Slopes cover in Vine forest

    • Sandstone gorges

    • Sandstone hilltops

    • Monsoon / Vine Thickets

  • Other habitats present included sandy beach and mangrove


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Maret Island

  • Very little previous work

  • Only opportunistic fauna survey work

  • Terrestrial snail records indicate potential number of new species

    • New Genus 3, new species 43 – only known from N & S Maret

    • New Genus 2, new species 79 – on N & S Maret, and two adjacent islands

    • Damochlora new species 42 – only known from N Maret

    • Setobaudinia new species 58 – on both N & S Maret and two adjacent islands

    • Setobaudinia new species 57 – only known from S Maret

    • Amplirhagada alta intermedia – on both N & S Maret and three adjacent islands


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Wilson Point

  • Comparative survey undertaken by Biota in 2007

  • Trapping sites established in

    • Eucalyptus woodland

    • Eucalyptus woodland over dolerite

    • Sandstone hilltops and slope with spiny wattle

    • Mangrove

    • Coastal Monsoon Vine Thickets


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Potential Short Range Endemics

Common attributes among the study site

  • Limited previous survey work

  • High possibility of the discovery of new taxa

  • Very restricted and disjunct habitats (e.g. vine thickets)

  • Easy to formulate a rigorous survey regime



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Fauna of the Kimberley

What conservation measures should be taken?

  • There is a great deal we don’t know

  • Potential for many short-range endemic species in isolated habitats

  • The precautionary principle – we must tread with care!


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