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Groote rangers recording a census of cats and dogs

Anindilyakwa Rangers, Joseph and Randal recording a census on the AMRRIC App in Angurugu, Groote Eylandt.

As part of an agreement with the Australian Government - Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, AMRRIC is working with ranger groups in a number of regions of the Top End, training the rangers to capture remote community companion animal population data utilising AMRRIC’s custom-designed AMRRIC AppHaving up-to-date information on the size and condition of remote community companion animal populations is an important step in exotic disease incursion preparedness, and also valuable in assisting AMRRIC to make tailored animal management recommendations for each community.  Companion animal censuses and surveillance against exotic diseases are both activities that are well aligned with the broad range of activities that rangers undertake in caring for their country.  

In June, AMRRIC ventured to Groote Eylandt, off the east coast of East Arnhem Land. With funding from NAQS and in-kind support from East Arnhem Regional Council, AMRRIC staff, Courtney Falls and Jan Allen spent 3 days working with the Anindilyakwa Land Council Land & Sea Rangers, training them in the use of AMRRIC’s App and conducting a companion animal census. The rangers were fantastic to work with, and took well to using the AMRRIC App. In fact, because of their enthusiasm and skills, the team were able to effectively and systematically record the entire dog and cat populations in the main Indigenous communities of Umbakumba and Angurugu as well as the homelands of Bardalumba and Malkala in just 2 days. 

While on the island, Jan and Courtney were lucky enough to meet ‘Edna’ – Groote Eylandt’s very own cane toad detection dog.  Groote Eylandt is currently free of cane toads, and the Anindilyakwa Land & Sea Rangers, with a little canine assistance, work hard to maintain this statusAn incursion of cane toads represents a real risk for the island’s swathe of threatened species including the Northern Hopping Mouse and the Northern Quoll. The work being done by Edna and the Anindilyakwa Land & Sea Rangers is vital in maintaining the island's precious biodiversity.

You can read more about Edna and the rangers’ work here: https://www.anindilyakwa.com.au/news/2017/stopping-toads-in-their-tracks 

AMRRIC thanks the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy for funding this activity, East Arnhem Regional Council for their in-kind support and the Anindilyakwa Land Council Land & Sea Rangers for their enthusiastic involvement.

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