The SUPER Project
Supporting Urban & Peri-urban Endangered Reptiles
The world is in the grip of a major biodiversity crisis, and the Northern Territory is not immune. The Territory has seen a major decline in a range of species in recent decades and our project - a collaboration between BiodiversityWatch NT and AAEE - is designed to help people understand this crisis, provide a local perspective on it, and to generate a response to help.
Our flagship National Parks such as Kakadu have been no exception to the global biodiversity crisis, and have suffered massive biodiversity decline, and yet in the greater Darwin region many threatened and endangered species are still present. Brush-tail Possums are thriving in our urban areas despite having disappeared from around 70% of their former range, whilst Black-footed Tree-rats and Yellow-spotted Monitors are not thriving to the same extent as possums, but are certainly persisting in the greater Darwin region. Of course we can't not mention the very exciting and unexpected find of a Northern Quoll that was caught in a mammal trap in Nightcliff!
The key difference that separates the greater Darwin region is people. Our communities are helping to manage the local environment and that is making all the difference. Nothing shows this more clearly than our communities' response to the Cane Toad invasion.
The SUPER project has been designed to raise awareness about biodiversity and the Biodiversity Crisis through focusing our local reptiles, as they are reasonably easy to spot and photograph or observe from a short distance - not to mention fascinating! The project is designed to help schools record biodiversity and develop education strategies that will help raise awareness and build understanding of the biodiversity crisis and local strategies to help support our wildlife. We want to encourage people to learn to identify their local reptiles, begin to record data on their distribution and relative abundance, and add it to our shared database. To do this we have created some resources; an identification booklet on the reptiles of the Greater Darwin region to help with identification, and an adapted MacKinnon List to record the species sighted. The data from MacKinnon Lists will be useful in establishing the distribution of species across the Greater Darwin region and will provide a rough estimation of the relative abundance of said species.
There is also a citizen science project where you can help with the collection of data.
Don't worry if you are outside the urban area you are still welcome to participate.
The core of this activity is to start identifying and recording species of reptiles in your backyard, school and local park. There is a booklet created to help you with the identification.
There is also a MacKinnon list data sheet set up to facilitate this data recording. You can see the details of that process here . You can add your data to the overall dataset to provide us with useful information about reptile species.