Issue 17
Monday, 26 September 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Environmental science students recently trapped black-footed tree-rats at Casuarina campus
Environmental science students recently trapped black-footed tree-rats at Casuarina campus

Students spot rare rodents in Darwin

By Katie Weiss

Charles Darwin University environmental science students have sighted one of Australia’s largest and endangered rodents living in a northern suburb of Darwin.

The 10 students found three endangered black-footed tree-rats in bushland at CDU’s Casuarina campus as part of a field intensive.

The students also trapped northern brown bandicoots, northern brushtail possums and grassland melomys during the five-day field intensive.

School of Environment research fellow Dr Brett Murphy said students conducted surveys at the site every two years, and it was reassuring to find species such as the black-footed tree--rate still present.

“Finding these animals highlights how important it is to retain remnant bush as habitat for threatened species within a capital city,” he said.

Dr Murphy said the students gained basic skills in planning and conducting fauna and vegetation surveys as part of their course, which aimed to foster an interest in mammal ecology.

“We desperately need more people studying mammals if we are to solve the mystery of why small mammal populations are declining so rapidly across Northern Australia,” he said.

“Hopefully we can reverse these declines in the long-term.”

The students also conducted a bird survey at Knuckey Lagoon in Darwin’s rural area.