Jim Cuthbertson Grant 2021-23 – National Parks Association of Queensland

Jim Cuthbertson Grant 2021-23

Author: Jessica Lovegrove-Walsh

This is an excerpt from the final report for the Jim Cuthbertson Grant 2021-23. The full report is available on the NPAQ website HERE.

The past two years have been a period of significant activity and progress for Friends of Nerang National Park. Since receiving the prestigious Jim Cuthbertson Grant from the National Parks Association of Queensland in 2021, we have successfully carried out a series of small mammal trapping surveys, conducted in-depth research on the distribution of greater gliders within the park, and undertaken comprehensive frog surveys throughout its expanse…

Our ambitious fauna survey project commenced with the development of a Nerang National Park-specific Fauna Survey Guideline. This comprehensive resource encompassed various survey methods, including camera trapping, small mammal trapping, bird surveys, frog surveys, and aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys. Thanks to the generous support of the Jim Cuthbertson Grant, this invaluable guideline has not only guided our surveys within Nerang National Park but will also serve as a reference for future endeavours within the park for years to come.

Camera trapping set up

Regrettably, our surveys also revealed the presence of widespread pest species within Nerang National Park. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) were observed throughout the park, and our camera traps captured evidence of two species of deer (Axis axis and Rusa timorensis) as well as European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in multiple locations. Figure 1 (below) presents a map displaying the large, feral mammals detected by our camera trapping efforts, excluding the black rats (Rattus rattus) and house mice (Mus musculus) recorded during the small mammal trapping surveys.

While the identification of three large feral vertebrate species is undoubtedly an undesirable outcome, it is crucial for park managers to have an understanding of the composition of both native and pest species in order to make informed decisions regarding park management…

Friends of Nerang National Park also made several unexpected and positive discoveries during our small mammal trapping, spotlighting, and trail-based surveys. These endeavours resulted in over 200 fauna records, encompassing birds, frogs, mammals, and invertebrates. Notably, we were delighted to observe the presence of Richmond birdwing vines (Aristolochia praevenosa) along Mooyumbin Creek and the surrounding Coombabah Creek area. Within these regions, we encountered eight individual Richmond birdwing butterflies (Ornithoptera richmondia).

A significant portion of the Jim Cuthbertson Grant was allocated to small mammal trapping, a labour-intensive task requiring expert assistance for accurate species identification. The most noteworthy and exciting outcome of our fauna surveys was the first-ever documented presence of a common dunnart (Sminthopsis maurina) in Nerang National Park.

common dunnart (Sminthopsis maurina)

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