Tag Archives: WA’s

WA’s native water rat, the rakali, ‘in decline’

Posted December 11, 2015 08:29:48

A rakali, also known as a water rat, sits in a pool of water with its paws clasped. Photo: Wildlife experts say Western Australia’s only freshwater aquatic animal, the rakali, appears to be under threat. (Supplied: David Judge)
Map: Geraldton 6530

Populations of Western Australia’s only freshwater aquatic mammal appear to be under threat, according to wildlife experts.

Although the rakali lives in patches across Australia, many people are not aware of the intelligent native rodent because of its elusive nature.

“They’re really hard to spot, so that’s part of the problem, especially here in Western Australia, they seem to more nocturnal than compared to over east,” World Wildlife Federation Australia spokesperson Sabrina Trocini said.

To uncover more about the creature, Dr Trocini led a citizen scientist program to try find out where the animals live and where they are struggling.

In WA, the otter-like rakali is believed to have populations in the South West, Wheatbelt, and Kimberley regions as well as on islands off the Pilbara coast and isolated areas in Perth.

“We already knew that the rakali had declined in the Wheatbelt and our survey has … actually confirmed that,” Dr Trocini said.

“We had very few sightings in the Wheatbelt region.”

Dr Trocini said the results from the three-month community survey in the southern half of WA suggested the animal was under threat in certain areas.

“We have a strong indication of localised declines,” she said.

“Not only in the Wheatbelt but also in the Perth metropolitan area, especially around the Helena River catchment.

“We have found that there is a great number of historical sightings … but we didn’t receive any recent sightings.”

Drying climate, illegal fishing may be to blame

Dr Trocini believes the drying climate is one factor triggering the decline in populations of the rodent.

“There’s probably different causes, there’s certainly the need for more monitoring and more studies,” she said.

She said the main cause of mortality for the animals was getting caught and drowning in illegal freshwater marron traps.

“They shouldn’t be used, because it’s not just about water rats, fresh water turtles get caught as well,” she said.

“So the best way and the legal way is to use group nets and drop nets for marron fishing.”

Dr Trocini co-authored a report following the citizen science project, which was supported by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and a grant from Lotterywest.

She hopes the study will be the basis for further research to better understand the health of the elusive creature.

Dr Trocini said she hoped the community embraced the animal, which was often mistaken for a rat.

“It is a top predator of our freshwater ecosystem and we have to protect it,” she said.

“I hope more people will know about our rakali in Western Australia and will start looking out for them and being a bit more aware that ‘no it’s not just a big rat, it’s actually a beautiful native animal’.”

Topics: animal-science, animal-behaviour, environment, geraldton-6530

Agen Sabung Ayam

$15m to prevent far more fish deaths in WA’s South West

Posted December 08, 2015 22:26:35

A lot more than 30 projects costing practically $ 15 million will get underway to boost water top quality problems in a South West water catchment, plagued by a number of huge fish kills.

About 10,000 fish had been killed in the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary final year by a toxic algae bloom, right after the same quantity died the earlier year.

The projects contain installing an oxygenation planter, which will improve oxygen in the water, and functioning with local farmers to minimize nutrient run-off.

The State Government’s Royalties for Regions fund will contribute $ 7.15 million, and partner agencies will contribute $ 7.65 million to carry out the projects more than four years.

The projects have been generated by a taskforce set up in response to the mass fish kills.

Water Minister Mia Davies mentioned the estuary’s management had been problematic till then simply because there had been so several agencies involved in distinct elements.

“Actually acquiring everyone to sit down and identify who was responsible for what, possessing ownership for parts of the program, and actually then identifying projects that have been going to make has been a massive component of the dilemma,” she mentioned.

“That’s what this taskforce was about, to accomplish a genuine sense of goal with each other.”

It included representatives from the Division of Water, Water Corporation, City of Busselton, GeoCatch and Western Dairy.

Ms Davies will be handing over her function as chair of the Vasse Taskforce to deputy chair and local Member for Vasse Libby Mettam.

Ms Mettam said there had been a lot of community concern about the fish kills.

“It was an issue that was raised consistently with me for the duration of the election campaign, and I feel that’s where environmental issues sit now,” she said.

“It is neighborhood, financial, and it is an outcome that we all require to see delivered.”

Subjects: fishing-aquaculture, fish, water, vasse-6280

Agen Sabung Ayam