As a part of its long-term Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, 2020 will always be the year that the Foundation first published images of the very rare Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo – Dendrolagus bennettianus (De Vis, 1887) in natural habitat.
Each fortnight, 12 camera traps were cleared of data, which was then transferred onto computer, logged, analysed, filed and collated into a draft report for publication at the beginning of the following month. Approximately 10-kilometres are traversed collecting data-cards, replenishing batteries and servicing and re-setting camera-traps, twice-monthly. It takes every bit of a full day to clear all traps, but with other work commitments, can extend to three or four days in total. One of the more pleasing aspects of the task, was the sightings of Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos. As yet, we have had no sightings of Northern Tiger-Quolls, but hopefully will with time and perseverance. Over the full course of the year, 772-cassowaries were captured from 505 events, 528-dingoes from 217 events and 1,462-feral-pigs from 483 events. In terms of congregation, for every 2 cassowaries, there were 3-dingoes and 4-feral-pigs snapped and within territorial constraints, cassowaries were significantly more perambulatory than both dingoes and feral-pigs.
Unfortunately, this does not provide reliable data on population comparisons, but the dynamics between the three competitors cannot be trivialised: Cassowaries, being of paramount World Heritage importance, are adversely affected by competition and predation from both feral-pigs and dingoes, but dingoes also prey upon feral-pigs with advantages for cassowaries.
Probably the greatest value that can be taken from this chart will be comparative across the years ahead, but as this is the first year of this long-term data collection project, the most significant event appears in September-October, with a dramatic increase in dingo numbers coinciding with an equivalent drop in feral-pig numbers, inferring that dingoes either killed the feral-pigs or displaced them through fear of predation.