Friends of The Pinnacle   the pinnacle kangaroo sweep count
01 Jun 2014
 
  

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On Sunday 1st June 2014, fotpin members and friends, guided by Claire, Mel and Natasha from the ACT Conservation, Planning and Research Unit, conducted the fourth annual kangaroo survey of The Pinnacle Nature Reserve and adjacent lands. count icon

Despite the threatening conditions with scattered showers and a temperature that hovered around 10oC all day, there was an excellent turnout of volunteers enabling the count to be completed successfully. Many thanks to everyone who participated and their supporting families for making the survey a success.

The survey employed the sweep count methodology used in 2011 (see pinnacle sweep count 2011 for details). Two sweep counts were carried out, commencing at 9-00 am and 1-30 pm, each preceded by a detailed briefing from Claire in the morning and Mel in the afternoon. Over the day more than 45 adults and children joined the count, ensuring plenty of help to form a line between Springvale and William Hovell Drives, over a distance of up to 1.7km.

In the morning sweep we counted 763 kangaroos, and in the afternoon 780. An average of these figures was used as the final estimate, giving us a value of 772. This is (amazingly!) exactly the same as the number estimated from the count on 1st May 2011. This equates to a population density of 2.1 kangaroos per hectare across the area of the count (367 ha), which is greater than the "conservation density" that research in the ACT has estimated to be in the range of approximately 0.6 to 1.5 Eastern Grey Kangaroos per hectare in grassland areas.

This year's count shows that the population has increased by 19% between August 2013 and June 2014, supporting the proposition that culling is necessary to control the population.

The size of The Pinnacle kangaroo population will be used by ACT Parks to help make informed management decisions. Fotpin Committee supports this approach - such as conducting kangaroo culls - where this is needed to protect the overall ecological health of the reserve. In addition, the native grass restoration project monitors the effect of grazing on groundlayer biomass and groundlayer species composition and abundance; the annual kangaroo survey has useful inputs to this research.

 

count start

Under leaden skies and a fine drizzle, the morning sweep line awaits the start near the Dungowan St entrance [photo: Warren Bond]

 

It's tough going through the Forest block [photo: Warren Bond]

 

 

 

 

 

 

forest count

 

count line pinnacle central track line

The line pauses to regroup along the Central Track [photos: carolynne Parker and Warren Bond]

 

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