Golden Gecko Award presentation

(from left) Jeff Turpin (Kingfisher), Brynne Jayatilaka (APA), WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L'Estrange and Jo Riley (Kingfisher).

During the Eastern Goldfields Pipeline’s route selection and design process, it came to light that the proposed route intersected suitable habitat for the Sandhill Dunnart. The Sandhill Dunnart is a small carnivorous marsupial that lives in restricted parts of arid and semi-arid Australia. Although the biggest of all the Dunnart species, the Sandhill Dunnart weighs only up to 55 grams and is listed internationally, and by the Federal and state governments, as Endangered.

In response to the finding and resultant approval conditions APA, together with Kingfisher Environmental Consulting, developed a Sandhill Dunnart Monitoring Plan, reviewed by various government departments. The planned monitoring went ‘above and beyond’, involving a range of measures and techniques including motion-sensing cameras, radio and GPS-tracking with custom designed tags weighing less than half a gram, scat (dung) collection, habitat analysis and modelling. This is the first time this species has ever been studied in such detail.

Much of the information collected - over more than four, two-week surveys before, during and post construction - is new to science, and is resulting in the development of multiple scientific papers. The monitoring has allowed a new insight into the lives of these endangered and elusive animals.

It also led to APA and Kingfisher Environmental Consulting receiving a Golden Gecko Award – an award bestowed by the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum to recognise excellence and leadership, and acknowledge the outstanding contribution recipients have made to developing WA's resources in a responsible manner.

 Sandhill Dunnart

Sandhill Dunnart with tracking tag.