Dr Euan Ritchie – Using camera traps to assess the presence of endangered mammals & capture possible new mammal species in remote Papua New Guinea

Miniature mammals discovered
Dr Euan Ritchie & Jim Thomas set a camera trap

Deakin ecologist Dr Euan Ritchie from the Centre for Integrative Ecology and Jim Thomas from the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, managed to raise sufficient funds to support this project through Deakin’s inaugural crowd-funding venture last year.

The initial aim of the project was to assess the presence and behaviours of two critically endangered mammals: the Tenkile (or Scott’s Tree Kangaroo), and Weimang (Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo).

In the process of their research, three new mammals may have been discovered: a miniature wallaby (probably within the genus Dorcopsulus), about the size of a domestic cat; a giant eared mouse; and a type of antechinus, a shrew-like marsupial.

The motion-activated infrared cameras were attached to trees in Papua New Guinea’s Torricelli Mountain Range. The cameras then snapped photos of animals every time they walked past the camera’s motion sensor.

According to Dr Ritchie this could have not been done 10 years ago and only due to technological improvements they were able to take photos without disturbing the animals in any way.

Could this be a unique opportunity to discover hundreds, if not thousands, of new species across the entire ecosystem? Read more about the project at Deakin Research Communications or visit the project CrowdFund page.

Discovering Papua New Guinea’s Mountain Mammals: