Bush Blitz preserving wildlife for the future
Bush Blitz preserving wildlife for the future

Scientists from around Australia are swooping on the Gawler Ranges in South Australia’s west to scour the land for new species.

The Bush Blitz program will document plants and animals in a bid to protect them for future generations.

Hiltaba, a former sheep station on the Eyre Peninsula, has been turned into a reserve thanks the Federal Government and BHP Billiton, with sheep and goats being moved out so scientists can move in.

“These guys are here to help us find out the full inventory of what’s here and now so we‘ve got a baseline for management in the future,” Dr Greg Johnston from the Nature Foundation told 7News.

As part of the program, scientists set pit-fall traps to collect and study bats, pigmy possums and desert skinks.

“Each year, there are new species of reptiles being discovered in Australia, even in SA there are new species being discovered,” said Mark Hutchinson from the South Australian Museum.

Botanists are also documenting a rare wattle tree that exists nowhere else in the world, while researchers are also keeping a keen eye out for insects.

Priscilla the bug catcher is one of the stars of the show - a net attached to the top of a four-wheel-drive that gathers grasshoppers, butterflies, bees and wasps for the scientists to study.

“There is about 75 per cent of Australia’s biodiversity that’s still largely unknown, so as I said, if we don’t know what we have got, we can’t protect it,” Bush Blitz manager Jo Harding said.

Anyone interested in being involved in the program can visit the following websites:

- Bush Blitz

- Nature Foundation

- Earthwatch

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