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19 October 2016
| News

Nexus announces Australian first translocation program

Toowoomba-Second-Range-Crossing-Collared-delma

In an Australian first, Nexus is relocating a protected species to an area outside the construction footprint of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) project.

The Delma torquata, or Collared delma, is a small legless lizard identified in a number of locations on the Toowoomba Range. As a result of its very specific habitat requirements and fragmented distribution, the TSRC project team is working to ensure further habitat loss is minimised.

Nexus Chief Executive Officer John Hagan said environmental sensitivity was key in minimising the impacts of large-scale projects such as the TSRC and the Collared delma translocation program was an example of this.

“To enhance the success of the translocation procedure, a pilot program was first conducted,” Mr Hagan said.

“This involved establishing a separate translocation area outside the clearing and construction footprint.”

Intensive investigations were undertaken to identify Collared delma microhabitat along the TSRC corridor, with specimens collected by ecologists and moved to a soft release area.

“Soft release describes a gradual return to the wild and often takes place from an onsite release cage or aviary,” Mr Hagan said.

“This technique enables an animal to spend time in an outdoor enclosure, become familiar with the release area and aware of the activity of other wildlife in the area.”

While the translocation of other delma species has previously occurred in Australia, this is a first for the Collared delma.

“Following a successful pilot study, we then commenced the main translocation program,” Mr Hagan said.

“Collared delma have been collected from areas of proposed impact and moved to one of four translocation areas located within offset properties adjacent to the approved works area.”

Under the Australian Government’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act, all translocated Collared delma will be monitored over a two-year period and key learnings adapted into future environmental management plans. This information will also be used to enhance our understanding of this little understood reptile.

delma-soft-release-area

Did you know?

Collared delma fast facts

  • Collared delma produce two eggs each December, which hatch between February and March
  • they live at least five years
  • they grow to an average length of 15cm, with a tail twice the length of their body
  • Collared delma are insectivores and feed on spiders, cockroaches, ants and termites
  • They inhabit areas of eucalypt dominated woodland and open forest in South-east Queensland, including the Toowoomba Range. They favour undisturbed vegetation and rocky outcrops, and are most commonly found underneath rocks.

delma-infographic

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