Tasmanian bats and bitterns

Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 1 Dec.

Applicant: The Bookend Trust

Species/Taxon: (including non-target species likely to be affected)
No species are expected to be affected.* This research is targeting all Tasmanian bat species and Australasian bitterns (Botaurus poiciloptilus). Recordings, stored long-term, may ultimately also be reviewed for presence/absence of other noise-producing species.

Location: Tasmania: all tenures where permitted by local land manager

Title of research: Pilot project for acoustic monitoring of Tasmanian bats and bitterns

Aim of project: 
To trial a statewide, citizen science project to monitor the conservation status of all bat species and the Australasian bittern in Tasmania, long term. We will test out a protocol designed to coordinate volunteers to deploy and gather data from acoustic recorders across Tasmania.

Justification:
We are targeting the threatened Australasian bittern because there is no current
information on its conservation status in Tasmania.

We are working on reserved land because we need to cover all common environmental conditions and habitats when monitoring conservation status. Over time, conditions on reserved lands may change in quite different ways from conditions on unreserved lands. Similarly, different habitats may change in different ways, for example in terms of the impacts of climate change. While the initial project is only a trial, we would hope nonetheless to use all data involved for at least some analyses, and in testing out our protocols it is important to cover the feasibility of the approach on reserved lands.

The trial will enable us to refine the monitoring project; this will ultimately provide information on the conservation status of the target species (and potentially additional noise-producing species). Wide sharing of findings will be central to the work, in
maintaining its continuity, and in inspiring and guiding effective conservation action.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved:
The pilot study will primarily involve 5 SongMeter bioacoustic recorders at any one time, usually placed for up to 12 days in any one location. If and when available, some additional bioacoustic recorders may also be deployed.

Activities undertaken and methods: Our protocol encourages wide, even deployment of recorders by volunteers across Tasmania, throughout spring and summer, but this distribution will also vary with availability and interest of volunteers and
accessibility of different areas.

Extra recorders may be placed in wetlands and near bat roosts, specifically to obtain calls
of bitterns and known bat species for the development of automatic call recognisers.

Recorders will be fixed to posts placed in the ground, so that they are at least 1.5 m away
from vegetation or other sound-reflective surfaces in all directions. On removal, these
posts will be cleaned of soil and dried before use elsewhere.

Fate of animals: No animals will be directly involved in this research*.

Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch):
No direct impact is anticipated to any species*.

*Indirectly, some soil invertebrates might potentially be affected when we place posts into the
ground. Care will be taken to minimise any potential impact on native plants.


Contact

Scientific Research Permits
Natural and Cultural Heritage
Level 5, 134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Email: Scientific.Permits@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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