An Assessment of the Vulnerability of Eastern Pygmy Possums to Climate Change Exacerbated Drought in the Ku-ring-gai Area

Author: Bob I Jones (Independent Volunteer Citizen Science Researcher for my project “Eastern Pygmy Possum Program and Recovery Plan for Ku-ring-gai Municipality” with OEH and NPWS and Volunteer former Volunteer Coordinator of the WildThings NSW Pygmy Possum Project in collaboration with KMC staff)

Date: 28 October 2018               ACADEMIA.EDU:  https://mq.academia.edu/BobIJones 

I have been searching for possible Eastern Pygmy Possum (EPP) Cercartetus nanus habitat in the Ku-ring-gai Municipality since 1 December 2013. Following on from Dr Brad Law’s lecture the previous day, I walked from West Pymble to South Turramurra along the Lane Cove Valley to check out occurrences of the EPP food plant heath-leaved banksia Banksia ericifolia (BE).

Of the 28 nest box deployments the host species was:

Seasonal Variations in Nest Box Occupation

By number of observed occupations by pygmy possums:

Number of observed occupations by pygmy possums

Nest Box Program Phases

 

Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

2014

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

2015

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2016

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2017

0

0

0

5

1

6

5

2

0

0

0

1

2018

0

0

0

0

1

1

 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of observed juvenile pygmy possums

 

 

 


Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

2014

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2015

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2016

0

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2017

0

0

0

4

2

6

4

0

0

0

0

0

2018

0

0

0

0

1

1

 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot Upper Lane Cove Valley at Canoon Road area

 

Complete Upper Lane Cove Valley Program and Start Cowan Catchment Program

 

Break in program – nest boxes left in place

 

Build Cowan Catchment Program and Middle Harbour Catchment Program

 

Hand over Program to KMC using Fulcrum app

 

Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

2014

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

2015

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2016

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2017

0

0

0

4

1

6

5

3

0

0

0

1

2018

0

0

0

0

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possible Determining Factors influencing Nest Box Occupation

Possible Trends in Abundance:

Fluctuation in Nest Box Occupation from year to year

Fluctuations in Number of Nights taken to Detect Pygmy Possum occurrence with Wildlife Cameras

Results

Many nest boxes were occupied by EPP females and their offspring shortly after the start of the Banksia ericifolia flowering season in mid-March with 4 of the 6 nest boxes deployed to known pygmy possum habitat for 18 months having pygmy possums in them when monitored and the other 2 having definite indications that pygmy possums did occupy them at some stage. Shortly before the end of the Banksia ericifolia flowering season in mid-September the pygmy possum families had moved on. In October it was found that pygmy possums were feeding on Callistemon citrinus blooms in wetter areas of Coastal Upland Swamp characterized by Gahnia sieberiana adjacent to the Banksia ericifolia containing areas where the nest boxes were deployed, but not on Callicoma serratiolia blooms in the adjacent gully areas. This may indicate horizontal rather than vertical migration of pygmy possums to chase flowering food sources.

 

EPPs were found at

Map

 

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