Back from the brink

Friday, 3 August 2018

The City of Mandurah asked you what you valued most about Mandurah - and you told us that it was our beautiful environment.

An important element of this environment is our wildlife. The City is home to a number of unique wildlife species, some of which are critically endangered or threatened. These species include the Western Ringtail Possum and the Carnaby’s Cockatoo.

The City has a team who are dedicated to ensuring that we look after our environment – they are called the Environmental Services team. But this team cannot do everything, which is why they now work alongside the Mandurah Environmental Volunteer Action Committee (MEVAC).

The Mandurah Environmental Volunteer Action Committee is a group of environmental volunteers and community members who are passionate about the environment, and making positive change. Every two months the committee meets to discuss the environment and develop their skills through capacity building.

The City and MEVAC have been working on the Mandurah Wildlife Project. The first step in making this project a reality was to ask the community which animals the community valued and believed were iconic to Mandurah.

Fauna nominations went out to the community through interactive Facebook polls, newspaper articles and online surveys, in which residents also had the option of nominating species that were not included in the top 20 already listed. There were over 1300 nominations received through Facebook.

“This is a great example of a citizen-led project,” said the Mayor, Rhys Williams.

“This is how we intend to work in the future, and I encourage all the community to get involved, to have your say in our new City visioning project that is going to be rolled out in the near future,” the Mayor said.

On Thursday 26th July the MEVAC reconvened at the bi-monthly capacity building forum at the City of Mandurah Tuckey Room, and sorted through nominations. On Facebook the number one ranked iconic species for Mandurah was the Forest Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, followed by the Western Ringtail Possum and the Quenda. Similarly on one of the online surveys they also ranked number one, with Ospreys ranked number one in a second online survey.

The Committee had some tough decisions to make as the leaders of the community project.

Ultimately, the committee decided on a Top 15 Fauna Species for Mandurah.

The top 15
1. Western Ringtail Possum
2. Carnaby’s Cockatoo
3. Quenda
4. Black Cockatoos
5. Phascogale
6. Osprey
7. Migratory Birds and Fairy Terns
8. Rakali
9. Western Bearded Dragon
10. Oblong Turtle
11. Echidna
12. Chuditch
13. Microbat
14. Dolphin
15. Peacock Spider

The top 15 are an excellent representation of all wildlife within Mandurah. The decisions where difficult but were ultimately based on the value of the species to residents from nominations received, and their current International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listing.

“This was more than a beauty competition or a popularity competition,” the Mayor said.

“There was serious community debate about the species that really need our help,” he said.

The top 15 fauna species will become the pillars of wildlife conservation within the Mandurah region. They are the flagship species for all fauna within Mandurah. They are not ranked in any order of significance, and were based off nominations from the community.

The Committee has identified a number of ways that the community and volunteers can be engaged with these species, through organised events such as night stalks, an interactive fauna app for Mandurah, setting up wildlife cameras and more.

Importantly the species list will also be incorporated in future management plans. The list will also be used to identify ways to raise awareness and education around the wildlife of Mandurah.
If you are interested in helping preserve our unique wildlife and environment, or making a positive difference and joining the Mandurah Environmental Action Committee, please contact us Environmental Services at environmental.services@mandurah.wa.gov.au