We all treasure something that’s rare, and when it happens to hop into your own backyard it can be an especially rewarding experience.
Tracey and Mark Finnegan were thrilled to find out that they are sharing their Kerry Valley cattle farm, which borders the World Heritage Listed Lamington National Park, with the rare and elusive Long-nosed Potoroo.
A shy medium sized marsupial, often mistaken for a bandicoot, but more closely related to the kangaroo family, was snapped last month as part of a wildlife survey of the property.
The Long-nosed Potoroo is listed as vulnerable under Queensland and Commonwealth law and has seen numbers drop dramatically due to habitat loss, fox predation and fungi rich soil depletion.
Not for profit group SEQ Catchments has been working with the couple over the past year, supporting landholders with managing their land in a way that also contributes to biodiversity conservation.
Co-owner of the property at Jingeri, Tracy Finnegan, understands the imperative of balancing conservation objectives around a productive farming business.
‘It is essential that we manage our property holistically and sustainably, both economically and environmentally,’ Tracy said, a recent graduate in Integrated Resource Management from the University of Queensland.
‘Whatever we do here has to also be done in a way that complements our grazing business because we have to still be profitable.’
‘It is really important to understand the relationship between the natural environment and the services it provides which underpin our production activities – such as good soils and clean water and how that relates to pasture management, erosion prevention and protection of ground water resources in the district.’
The property has recently been registered as a Land for Wildlife property, a voluntary program which assists private landholders to provide habitat for wildlife on their property.
‘The discovery of the Long-nosed Potoroo shows that we are very lucky to be blessed with high value environmental areas on our farm and we see that as a distinct positive for both the farm and our family.’
‘The fact that a rare fungi eating marsupial can survive in our grassy woodland areas, reflects that we have healthy soils and healthy ecosystems and that means benefits for many other native plants and animals as well.’
‘Healthy soils are also the cornerstone of our cattle grazing business. Good soil means good pasture and fat healthy cattle. So you can see why we would be excited on a number of different fronts.’
This fungi eater is found in a variety of habitats, from wet eucalypt forests to coastal heaths and scrubs, relying on thick groundcover for protection and nesting.
SEQ Catchments Biodiversity Manager Liz Gould said the find was cause for celebration.
‘We’re losing habitats and local species at an alarming rate in South East Queensland, one of the fastest growing regions in Australia; if we don’t manage what’s left we risk losing some of these species forever,’ she said.
“This Potoroo record confirms the critical role private landholders have in protecting threatened species, as well as broader land stewardship.
‘Research in other areas has shown that well considered grazing management practices that restore fungi populations back into the soils can have positive results for this species.’
Funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program is vital for the recovery of threatened species like the Long Nosed Potoroo.
Wildlife surveys were conducted with support from Scenic Rim Regional Council. Other threatened species found on this property include Koalas and a small community of between 10-20 Glossy Black-Cockatoos.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland’s activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.