Project 3.4 'Monitoring of key vertebrate species'

Project 3.4 'Monitoring of key vertebrate species'

Monitoring is a fundamental component of the management of threatened species and is of particular importance when those species come into direct conflict with humans and their interests.  In such circumstances up-to-date information on population status, trends and distribution become key inputs into decision making. In these circumstances, systematic, objective and transparent data is critical to the acceptance of the decision making process.

In the Wet Tropics, two species are the focus of repeated demands for management, made to all levels of government, and are frequently the focus of bitter debates, often with financial and legal implications:  the endangered southern cassowary (Casuarisus casuarius) and the vulnerable spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)For both species questions relating to population sizes, trends and distribution are central to decision making and conflict resolution processes.

Project objectives at a glance

This project aims to:

  • Provide estimates of cassowary population size, distribution and structure across the Wet Tropics region based on faecal-DNA sampling;
  • Provide estimates of cassowary population size for sub-regions and local areas;
  • Describe patterns of relatedness between cassowary populations in sub-regions;
  • Provide estimates of the relative abundance of cassowaries in different vegetation types and therefore the relative value of different habitats to cassowary populations;
  • A standardised method for long-term cassowary monitoring and estimation of cassowary population sizes at region, local and tenure scales;
  • Report on the size and distribution of spectacled flying-fox populations across the year and the long-term trends in these dynamics at local and regional scales;
  • Report on the potential factors determining these dynamics and their likely consequences for biodiversity and flying-fox management; and
  • Maintain and manage the long-term database on spectacled flying-fox population trends and local and regional scales.

Specific objectives and intended outputs of this Project are detailed in the NERP TE Hub Multi-Year Research Plan.

Final Reports

Estimation of the population size and distribution of the southern cassowary, Casuarius casuariusin the Wet Tropics Region of Australia

Spectacled flying-fox monitoring in the Wet Tropics Region

Project Factsheet


Project Duration: 
1 Jul 2011 to 31 Dec 2014


Project People

Project Outputs