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Citizen Scientists Descend On Wombeyan Caves

Blog Post - Bioblitz at Wombeyan Caves, May 2019

More than 50 citizen scientists descended on Wombeyan Caves in May to participate in the annual K2W ‘Bioblitz’ wildlife survey, a 24hr marathon of expert-led flora and fauna surveys. Hosted by the Kanangra to Wyangala (K2W) Partnership together with national conservation charity the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW), the weekend is part of a growing Citizen Science movement where every-day Australians work alongside scientists to improve our knowledge of native plants and animals. The data collected is added to the public record and used to plan future conservation projects and manage biodiversity in our national parks and nature reserves.

“The idea of a Bioblitz is to connect people with science and survey as much flora and fauna as possible within a set space and time,” says Mary Bonet, K2W Coordinator. The data collected improves the national biodiversity record and is used to help better-manage important areas of native flora and fauna.

“The work results in the creation of substantial species lists and has, in the past, facilitated the discovery of new species, rediscovery of rare species and identification of species where they are not usually found,” Mary says. With Australia’s biodiversity at risk from pressures such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and introduced species, there is a need to learn more about native wildlife, so we can better protect and manage our natural heritage.

“Science isn’t just something scientists do. It is something in which every single one of us has a stake,” says Mary. “By helping at a BioBlitz, we can all have a role in protecting what makes Australia unique,” Mary added.

The program included checking nestboxes, dawn and dusk bird surveys, spotlighting in the evening and other surveys during the day.

"We recorded eight native mammal species, two introduced mammal species, 39 native bird species and one native frog species, which is pretty good for this time of year," said Mary. "The records include three threatened species – Greater Glider, Glossy Black-Cockatoo and Gang-gang Cockatoo. They also include three additions to the list of fauna species recorded in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve (based on the BioNet Atlas records for Wombeyan plus the NPWS 2012 bird list for Wombeyan) – Agile Antechinus, Brown Goshawk and Brown Toadlet. A good result!"

The weekend was a great success and opened the door to a new generation of budding scientists by providing hands-on experiences undertaking fieldwork with eminent local ecologists. Check out this video to see what they found!




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