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Government GIS

Australia leverages GIS for endangered wildlife conservation

Researchers at the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are leveraging Esri’s ArcGIS technology to better understand the role competition may play in the conservation of the endangered bridled nailtail wallaby.

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QPWS Senior Spatial Information Analyst Michael Harte said the research would aid in the assessment of current land management practices within the park.

“Our on-ground managers are looking at the number of wallabies to see whether they’re benefiting, for example, from the type of feed pastures they have created previously,” he said.

“One of the questions we’re asking is whether management practice is helping these wallabies out, or if it’s just creating more competition with other types of the species.”

Harte said the team was using GIS technology to map a population density index of the bridled nailtail and the black-striped wallaby to examine the dynamics of the relationship between the two.

“Our scientists and rangers go into the field equipped with spotlights to record wallaby number and species’ type data,” Harte said.

The information collected is then recorded in spatial tables called vector datasets. Vector datasets representing both the tracks traversed during sampling and the vegetation communities present across the study area were analysed.

“By doing this, we were able to estimate the relative abundance of each species across the study area.”

By using GIS, researchers at QPWS were able to derive compelling insights that would help them better take care of Australia’s most loved wildlife icons.

According to Esri Australia, the study sits side-by-side with other vital environmental projects around Australia also using GIS technology.

These include the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program in Western Australia – which is helping protect the endangered Loggerhead species – and Victoria’s Phillip Island Nature Park – which is conducting the first state-wide Penguin survey in more than 30 years.

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