Warddeken Mayh (Species) Recovery Project
Warddeken Rangers and the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust are working to protect vulnerable Mayh (species/animals) in the Stone Country of west Arnhem Land. Rangers are monitoring populations across the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area to identify what land management interventions may lead to better outcomes, especially for culturally important mayh.
One of the most culturally significant species is the Northern Quoll, which is known as Djabbo in local language.
Djabbo are associated with the duwa patrimoiety and in the dreaming fought with the Dird (moon) man. The Djabbo wanted humans to die once and for all, but the Dird said there should be rebirth. They went their separate ways, the Djabbo dying like all creatures, but the Dird rose to be reborn every month. Today, the Djabbo’s curled-up claw is a symbol for death. The Djabbo is thought to be a semelparous mammal, meaning all the males die-off after the breeding season, placing great importance on the breeding females and survivorship of young to sustain Djabbo populations.
With the help of FNPW, Warddeken rangers are working to learn more about a population of Djabbo and their key threat, feral cats, at a place called Barradj. Rangers have recently deployed a 100 camera predator grid, spacing cameras approximately 400 metres apart on four land types and will process the data over the coming wet season.
Initially the location data of cats and Djabbo will be mapped and used by senior Traditional Owners to determine where to burn in the early dry season to best benefit the Djabbo. The second stage of data analysis will involve identifying individual animals to determine the size of populations and whether the species temporally or spatially interact. This knowledge will then be used to determine if other interventions can be used to support the persistence of Djabbo.