The SMP, established by the Management Committee for Mulligans Flat Sanctuary advises the Management Committe and Sanctuary staff on scientific and technical aspects of managing animals in the Sanctuary including:
• Management and control of feral animals (predators and herbivores) including criteria for success in control programs;
• Selection of species characteristic of grassy woodlands and considered suitable for reintroduction to the Sanctuary (e.g. small and medium sized mammals, birds)
• Protocols for reintroducing animals to the Sanctuary;
• Management of species that were present in the Sanctuary prior on its construction (including management of population numbers);
• Management of species that have become established as a result of the Sanctuary’s construction or reintroduction program (including management of population numbers).
Members of the SMP include representatives from ACT Parks and Conservation Service (TAMS), Conservation Planning and Research (ESDD), the Invasive Animals CRC, Universities, other government agencies (e.g. CSIRO) or non-government organizations (including similar wildlife sanctuaries) plus additional expertise as required.
The SMP works directly with the managers of the Sanctuary (ACT Parks and Conservation Service) on routine management matters and provides the Board with regular reports. Decisions as to which species to reintroduce into the Sanctuary and the conditions under which this will be managed are subject to agreement of the Board of Management.
Initially the focus of the SMP was on eradicating feral animals from the Sanctuary, followed by consideration of candidates and protocols for reintroduced species. Planning for eradication and reintroductions will take account of the experience of other sanctuaries, including issues such as:
• A combination of eradication methods seems to work best;
• The impact of eradication on the ecosystem may influence reintroduction and approaches required for population control;
• Sufficient time for the impact of eradication should be factored into consideration of reintroduction practices;
• Reintroductions should only proceed when adequate cover and food are available;
• Operational issues associated with managing the reserve and public access during feral baiting and monitoring programs need to be addressed
• There may be unexpected consequences of eradication eg natural arrival of new species, which need to be factored in to future planning;
• Choices of species to be reintroduced should be linked to size of the enclosure and what animals were once native to the area, recognising that there may be interactions between re-introduced species, particularly as there are no natural predators; and
• A policy and process for dealing with ‘invaders’ and ‘escapees’ will be required.
The SMP oversees preparation of a Species Reintroduction Strategy that will guide the reintroduction process. Where necessary, reintroduction-specific working groups will be formed for particular projects. Criteria for selecting of animal species for translocation to the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary include:
• Potential Species for reintroduction
• Assessment and suitability of each species against criteria
• Risk assessment – ethics and animal welfare issues; effects of species population inside and outside the fence
• Estimated timeframe for reintroductions, e.g. short, medium and long-term (5 years, 5-15 years, 15+ years)• Ongoing management implications
• Species interactions