Astron was engaged to undertake a two-phase Level 2 vertebrate and short range endemic (SRE) invertebrate fauna survey across more than 10,000 hectares within the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This intensive survey involved habitat assessments, trapping, avifauna censuses, foot traverses, nocturnal searches, targeted searches, and the use of motion sensitive cameras and SM2BAT ultrasonic bat detectors.
The survey recorded 211 vertebrate species, including two amphibian species, 64 reptile species, 107 bird species, 31 mammal species and seven fish species. This represents two thirds of all known vertebrate fauna species within the vicinity of the survey area. Ten conservation listed fauna species were recorded including: Pilbara Olive Python (VU; S3) (Liasis olivaceus barroni), Northern Quoll (EN; S2) (Dasyurus hallucatus), Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat (VU; S3) (Rhinonicteris aurantia), and Ghost Bat (S3; P4) (Macroderma gigas). A total of 228 invertebrate specimens belonging to at least 27 invertebrate morphospecies were recorded of which six were potential short range endemics.
The array of species recorded was a reflection of the abundance and diversity of microhabitats for fauna species to exploit. The microhabitats of rocky areas such as gorges and valleys contain ecological qualities important for fauna that are conservation listed such as the Pilbara Olive Python, Northern Quoll and Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat.