Council identified a need to develop a Fauna Management Strategy that will guide adaptive management of large fauna and introduced terrestrial species within the Mount Panorama Precinct.
“This strategy is to ensure sustainable fauna population and land management in a manner that allows for continued motor sport, tourism and agricultural activities and maintains ecological processes, as well as improving knowledge in regards to population dynamics and effective management techniques.
The Mount Panorama Precinct also contains White Box - Yellow Box - Blakeley’s Red-gum Woodland which is classed as an Endangered Ecological Community. Therefore, an understanding of the impact of large grazing fauna on the survival and regeneration of native flora species also needs to be determined.”
Council engaged Anne Kerle, a consulting ecologist to develop the strategy. In order to provide baseline data upon which the strategy would be based, surveys of large native mammal species, one bird species and three feral species were undertaken in March and August 2011. Species surveyed were the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Common Wallaroo, Red-necked Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby, Common Wombat, Koala and Emu. Introduced species surveyed were the Rabbit, Fox and Feral Cat. Vegetation communities were also surveyed to determine current condition and to give an indication of carrying capacity of the landscape.
The study scope also included a landholder survey to gain an understanding of perceived changes in populations over time and space. This survey was undertaken in March 2011. Key stakeholders including the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, landholders and the Boundary Road Reserve Landcare Group were consulted during the development of the strategy.
The Mount Panorama Fauna Management Strategy was adopted by Council as a working document on 15 August 2012.
A summary document of the strategy is available here.
The full strategy will be available electronically via this webpage soon.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
- Densities vary across the precinct. The overall density is around 2 animals per hectare with densities of up to 6/ha found east of College Road
- The most common fauna include the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Common Wallaroos, Rabbit and Fox.
- There are limited movements between the main population areas. Though there are regular track crossings in at least two locations, track incursions during the race are more likely due to panicked individuals responding to a perceived threat (noise from jets, cars etc) rather than influences from animal densities
- The precinct’s carrying capacity (the number of animals that the environment can support over a period of time) is estimated to be around 6 kangaroos per hectare though there was no evidence of overgrazing in areas where this density is found.
- The vegetation is generally in very good condition though weeds, low regeneration and erosion are impacting upon the understory of the woodland Endangered Ecological Community (EEC). Grazing by kangaroos is not impacting upon the condition.
- Residents have concerns regarding damage to fences and personal safety in areas of high kangaroo density.
Based upon these findings, some of the main recommended actions of the strategy include:
- Ongoing and improved monitoring of animal behaviour and movements with biennial surveys of populations. Report any incidents such as vehicle collisions and conflicts with people.
- Additional temporary fencing is the best way to restrict points of regular track crossings during race events. Electronic devices such as ‘shoo-roo may be ineffective for panicked individuals.
- Increase communication between Council, landholders and stakeholders to assist in the implementation of the strategy.
- Collaborative control of pests with landholders in conjunction with their statutory obligations
- Control pressures on EEC - maintain ground cover above 70% cover, manage weeds and rabbits.
- Cooperative control of high numbers of native fauna should the need arise due to threats to people, damage to property, native vegetation and increased track incursions. Approved culling or harvesting outside the breeding peak could be explored as a method of control in the future. Relocation or fertility control methods may not be viable options at present.
- Improved education of landholders and community to avoid conflict with kangaroos and to increase value of native fauna in the precinct.
Council intends to adopt some of the recommendations immediately (additional temporary fencing, increased monitoring during race events) and will soon be working towards developing collaborative partnerships with landholders and stakeholders to ensure the ongoing sustainable management of flora and fauna within the Mount Panorama precinct.