Proof prickly echidna calls park home


The elusive echidna was spotted with advanced infrared camera technology

The elusive echidna was spotted with advanced infrared camera technology

An echidna has officially been sighted on camera for the first time in the Territory Wildlife Park during a project involving Charles Darwin University staff and students.

The secretive animal was captured on film with advanced heat and motion sensing infrared camera technology, provided by the NT Department of Land Resource Management.

Six Diploma of Conservation and Land Management students assisted the team of park staff and CDU researchers as part of their university studies.

Conservation Land Management lecturer Samantha Saynor said the advanced camera technology, originally developed by the military had helped the team record a range of different species in the park.

“We suspected echidnas were on site after observing diggings and tracks,” Ms Saynor said.

“But this is the first time that the echidna was clearly identifiable and that was terrific.”

Ms Saynor said the nocturnal creatures were difficult to identify during standard observation and trapping surveys as they had secretive habits and did not respond to baits.

Other animals recorded in the survey included bandicoots, black footed tree rats, peaceful doves and grassland melomys.

Ms Saynor said an abundance of grassland melomys and black footed tree rats were recorded during the survey, signifying healthy populations lived in the park.

“The data suggests that the park is providing an environment in which a wide range of animals can live,” she said.

“This data will contribute to our knowledge of animals in the area.”

CDU Diploma of Conservation and Land Management students have been assisting the park with its flora and fauna surveys every year since 2011.

Territory Wildlife Park’s Biodiversity Liaison Officer Sarah Hirst and Assistant Curator Damien Stanioch assisted in the survey.

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