Indigenous people help map Australia’s mammal populations

Indigenous people have recently played a part in mapping Australia’s biodiversity. A group of scientists spent four years traveling to remote areas in Northern Australia, equipped with stuffed animals, skins, and photographs of 50 target mammals, and talked to the local people to find information.

The local people spoke about when and where they had seen the animals, any changes they had noticed in population sizes and their own changes in interactions with the land in regards to hunting and management.

It was discovered there was a decline in many mammal populations including the northern quoll, the brush-tailed phascogale, the black-footed tree-rat, the northern brown bandicoot and the common brush-tailed possum, all these species are found on the IUCN’s red list.

Passing it on: transferring traditional knowledge between generations may be crucial for the survival of many of Australia’s most iconic mammal species. Photo By: Ian Morris.

There was also a small increase in some species populations, such as the agile wallaby.

These findings back up a more recent study on wildlife in the area and shows local knowledge can be very useful. Ziembicki one of the scientists involved said the future is to “find ways to use science and Indigenous knowledge together” to help protect both biological and cultural diversity.

Want to learn more?  Read the full story here: Indigenous knowledge reveals widespread mammal decline in northern Australia

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