Joey Clarke, Senior Science Communicator
Photos by Ian Bool, Field Ecologist
The vast Yampi Peninsula in the northwest Kimberley is part of the traditional lands of the Dambimangari people. It’s also a cradle of biodiversity, located in a part of Australia which has so far avoided the worst ravages of the country’s ongoing extinction crisis.
During the 2022 dry season Dambimangari Rangers, Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) ecologists and volunteers embarked on a massive wildlife survey, which revealed a rich array of animal species at Yampi, many recorded there formally for the first time.
Here’s what they found…
An incredible 72 species of reptiles were recorded on Yampi during the survey. Australia is a hotspot for diversity of snakes and lizards, and the north-west Kimberley stands out as one of the most species-rich regions in the country. Newly recorded reptiles of interest included the Gracile two-lined dragon (Diporiphora gracilis), and Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis).
A total of 45 native species of mammals were recorded during the survey. Of these, seven were newly confirmed for Yampi Sound Training Area.
The team made several surprising finds as a result of the unprecedented survey effort. The photo below is of a Fat-tailed Pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus macdonnellensis), a small marsupial in the same family as quolls and phascogales. This little mammal was not known to occur in the Kimberley until AWC surveys in recent years detected it – first at Mornington, and then at Yampi. The new records represent a significant range extension, and the Mornington find was reported in the scientific journal Australian Mammalogy in 2022.
One hundred and thirty-one bird species were detected during the Yampi survey, from acoustic and camera data and incidental records. They included common species like the Spotted Nightjar…