Residency Stage 2, Yookamurra, South Australia

Filed under Residency 2: Yookamurra SA

The second phase of the residency coincided with the annual mammal trapping survey at Yookamura – The property is 5,000 ha (12,350 acres) and gives protection to 20 mammals, 96 birds, 24 reptiles and 1 amphibians at last count. Its classic Mallee scrub (I hesitate to use that term because of its historic connotations) and set in the Murray Darling Depression bioregion it is in the Barossa Valley around 2.5 hours from Adelaide.

Like some of the other properties it has a feral free enclosure – in this case relatively small at 1,000 ha. This keeps out the two small and medium sized mammal killers – feral cats and foxes. It also hosts a school educational program for local seniors. Our warm and welcoming hosts Noel and Mel are relatively new to the property having come down from the Northern Territory from Parks and Wildlife (crocodile wrangling being but one skill) and Darwin Zoo.   Remote in one way but within striking distance of good coffee, wine and food nearby in South Australian Style – its quite a location.


Checking the recaptures, listed by PIT tags of animals from the 'night before' (Image Keith Armstrong, Courtesy AWC)

Consistent with the first residency I arrived with similar intentions – to become a team member in the mammal survey (The ‘Rat KAngaroos’ – ground dwelling and burrowing – Woylies and Boodies, as they have groups of at Scotia) – as a means for learning aspects of the grounding ecological science, and then engaging and working and talking with the range of scientists, volunteers and team members over the two week stint. There was also ample chance to chat with the station managers Noel and Mel to find out about the process, motivations and practices, and also chat with AWC’s official photographer Wayne Lawler who had a vast knowledge of all of the astounding sanctuaries AWC manage Australia wide. I also conducted interviews, shot numerous images and accessed the great little library at the info centre and unwound a little! Consistent with the open aims of the residency and the need in a lean organisation for everyone to become involved the time was full and passed quickly. As we were on night shift things also passed in a blur at times although the four night of trapping were not too demanding – albeit a little cold at that time of year.

Closing up a pouch, avoiding risk of a mother ejecting her pouch young.

Closing up a pouch, avoiding risk of a mother ejecting her pouch young. (Image Wayne Lawler, Courtesy AWC)

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