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Mount Hotham’s trail cameras pick up the wariest of native wildlife

Mount Hotham’s trail cameras are busy in operation and while their efforts are focused on monitoring pests and feral animals, they are also making use to capture some of the alpine native wildlife as they make their way along the man-made trails.

Mount Hotham is home to an abundance of native wildlife and other animal species which roam the alpine environment and make use of the alpine vegetation. A lot of the time these animals make use of the tracks and trails for ease of movement which make it an ideal location for the cameras to be placed.

There are currently seven scout guard cameras set on trails around Mount Hotham Alpine Resort which monitor for foxes, wild dogs, dingos, cats and deer.

Mount Hotham Environmental Officer Naomi Monk said that the cameras are “quite effective” in picking up native wildlife that is less common to find.

 “We are getting animals that might normally be elusive like the echidna, you don’t see many that high up the mountain — they’re not common like the raven,” Ms Monk said. 

  

“The grey currawong is a bit more unusual. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to see them but it’s rare to see it on camera.

“There are other currawongs that we see a lot of around here but the grey currawong is a little bit more uncommon.

The cameras operate annually at the start of summer and run until the commencement of the snow season. They are then put away to be reused for the following summer commencing at the end of November.

Other native wildlife that was picked up on the camera this summer included the mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus cunninghami), a red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), a short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) and the microbat (Microchiroptera).

“The wallaby was pretty exciting because it is quite high altitude for a red-necked wallaby and their solitary animals.

“They are known in mountainous areas but logically they are going to be more down in the denser tree line areas.

“A lot of wombats, echidnas, wallabies and roos come out in the fog and mist rain as it extends their nocturnal feeding into the day little bit they feel a little bit more sheltered and protected.

In December, microbats were frequently picked up on the cameras as they came to predate on the Bogong moths that migrate up at Mount Hotham. There are six bat species that are possible up at Mount Hotham.

“That was something you don’t see, because you don’t normally hear them at night,” Ms Monk said.

“The camera goes along the track, it has a very wide field of vision and the bats fly down and around trying to get the moths.

“They may be attracted to the track lines as it might be a bit warmer the tracks,” she said.

The possum and echidna were discovered on camera near the Cobungra Ditch Walk, and the wallaby and grey currawong were discovered near Little Higginbotham.

 

 

21 February 2017