Partly because I love my job, and partly because my train is so darn unreliable, I get to the museum early. This morning was no different but as I snaked my way through the underground tunnels something was far from usual. My nose was suddenly filled with a disconcerting smell… smoke. A thin wisp of dark grey smoke was emanating from behind the museum doors. I flew up the stairs two at a time, shoved my key into the lock and wrenched opened the door. Coughing, I wrapped my scarf over my mouth and nose and went in. (more…)
In my last post I begun to talk about the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s ecologists that I have joined for a month in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia. It’s the dry season here and while most of the land isn’t underwater the annual ecological trapping survey is underway.
This involves trapping small mammals, lizards, snakes and frogs and doing bird and vegetation surveys to assess what lives in various different habitats here. A couple of major investigations are underway – the purpose isn’t just to create a list of residents. About half of the reserve has had cattle removed from it (because of seemingly bizarre land-leasing laws this conservation NGO is technically required to run their wildlife sanctuary as a cattle station), and one question is to ask what impact that has on the ecology. It’s easy to predict that the many small mammals that rely on grass seed would be affected by these massive grazers, and this is what the data are suggesting. (more…)