The Victorian town of Mildura went mad for Malleefowl recently, when for two whole days the Mildura Grand Hotel was packed with enthusiastic and energetic community members and scientists alike, absorbing as many Malleefowl facts as possible.
The event – the 2018 and sixth National Malleefowl Forum – was hosted by the National Malleefowl Recovery Team (NMRT) with support from the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group (VMRG). Approximately 120 delegates attended the event – many from Victoria but many more from interstate.
Throughout the packed program, speakers from a range of backgrounds presented on an array of topics including
• Photos and videos of breeding Malleefowl from long time Malleefowl devotee David Wells;
• A history of mound monitoring with the charismatic Paul Burton;
• Unravelling the DNA mystery of Malleefowl with Professor Steve Donnellan (DYK Malleefowl tolerance to 1080 baits suggest they originated in WA);
• Benefits of LiDAR for ground searching of mounds with Jessica Sackmann;
• Nganamara two-way science with ecologist Brett Backhouse;
• The use of remotely sensed vegetation productivity as an indicator of Malleefowl breeding with up and coming Malleefowl aficionada Alys Young;
• And of course the ever popular Zig and Zag of Malleefowl Tim Bernard and Joe Benshemesh with a wrap up of the National Malleefowl Recovery Team.
Another highlight of the conference was dinner aboard the Paddle Vessel Mundoo – where delegates were treated to a hearty buffet meal as they travelled along the mighty Murray River. During which John Olsen from the VMRG had the group in stitches with his hilarious commentary and quiz questions.
Liz Kington from the NMRT said that the forum was well attended by all people across Australia from policy makers, researchers to monitoring volunteers, all interested in protecting Malleefowl.
“It felt like a big Malleefowl family coming together to share experiences, knowledge and learn how this special bird is coping in its remaining natural environment.”
NACC’s Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore also had the pleasure to attend the forum and said she was impressed with the spirit of friendship and collaboration that radiated from the event.
“Being relatively new around the mounds I was fascinated by the wealth of knowledge and passion at the forum. Malleefowl clearly have a strong history of community support with decades worth of monitoring data – and friendships formed across the nation.”
“It was an amazing program, with too many highlights to single-out any one presenter – but everyone’s willingness to share their stories has further inspired me to get out of the office and into the bush to monitor more mounds. And hopefully spy more of the elusive bird.”
Jessica added “Being a member of the WA Malleefowl Recovery Group, it was also great to spend time with our Victorian counterparts – plus hear about the newly emerging NSW Malleefowl Recovery Group.”
“I look forward to seeing everyone at the next National Malleefowl Forum in 2021.”
Upcoming Training Events
Learn all about Malleefowl, their amazing nests and how we monitor them. It’s a bit like Geo caching but helps to save a threatened species.
After a short induction we will travel to Nearby Malleefowl Monitoring site where we will use a GPS to navigate to mounds to record the data for each mound we will practice the best monitoring methods and how to use the smartphones to record data. You will be able to travel to the monitoring site in a 2WD vehicle.
Free to all. Meet at the Dalwallinu Caravan Park Office. Register with Liz on 0417 996719