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Trap me if you can!


Tim Reilly

Today was our first day of Bush Blitz in my own back yard, Groote Eylandt. I am fortunate to only live 3 minutes away from the Ranger Base, which is where all the scientists and other teachers are using as their home base for the next week.

On arrival we were given an induction and went through how to use all the safety gear, like the satellite phones and VHF's. We went over what the next week would look like and what type of things we could expect to work with.

After the induction and lunch we headed out on a mission to set various traps just behind the ranger base. We set; pit fall traps for small lizards, funnel traps for small snakes and reptiles, Elliot traps for small marsupials (northern quolls etc) and larger wire cage traps for larger marsupials like bandicoots. For bait we were using a mixture consisting of rolled oats, peanut butter, honey and sunflower seeds. We were given a little tip that apparently 'no name' brand strawberry yoghurt muesli bars work a treat too. We made sure to cover the traps with bark and leaves to ensure that any animal that did managed to get trapped didn't end up overheating from the sun.

After all the traps had been set we then had an opportunity to set up some motion detector cameras. We set four of these up 50 meters apart in a diamond shape and marked their GPS location so we didn't lose them (around $900 each). When we set them up we had to clear a small area around the field of view of the camera to ensure it didn't take a picture every time a leaf was blown in the wind.
It will be very interesting to see what animals end up trapped and what the motion cameras reveal. We have a little competition going between us on who's trap will work the best so time will tell who gets the bragging rights!