Outfoxing the predators of rat kangaroo
THE National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has completed its fourth annual fauna survey targeting the rare and threatened Rufous Bettong, or rat kangaroo, within the Ramornie National Park, west of Grafton.
NPWS Grafton ranger David Redman said the surveys formed a key part of an intensive NPWS fox control program.
Mr Redman said the program was being conducted in several National Parks within the Clarence Valley.
"Fauna surveys allow staff to monitor overall fox control effectiveness by determining presence and numbers of important species, such as the Rufous Bettong," Mr Redman said.
"Rufous Bettongs are small kangaroo-like marsupials that live in a variety of forests with a grassy understorey.
"They live on the ground within the grass using their tails to carry material for their cone-shaped nests constructed of grass positioned in a shallow depression at the base of a tussock or fallen log."
He said the unique animals had been reduced in numbers and range by influences including loss of habitat, frequent fire and predators such as cats and foxes.
NPWS fox control activities within the Clarence Valley are protecting inland mammal species including the Rufous Bettong.
On the coast the fox control system is important to protect shorebirds including the little terns, beach stone-curlews along the coast.