Hidden Vale UQ Wildlife Project - Research Activities and Priorities 

GOAL: To deliver resilient ecosystems with representative, self-sustaining populations of fauna and flora endemic to the Scenic Rim.

This will be achieved through a combination of activities all supporting and supported by relevant and applied research.

A) Activities

A1. Review of the current situation

  • Review of previous/historical fauna and flora surveys, and identification of gaps in our knowledge – desk-top studies
  • Initiate current ecological surveys 
  • Initiate current fauna surveys – professionally and/or via the student trapping (already started)
  • Review current status of introduced wildlife, including vertebrate pest management strategies that have been or are currently being undertaken
  • Review current status of weeds, including surveys of current weed infestations and strategies that have been or are currently being undertaken to control them

A2. Strategies to improve habitats

The information gained from A1 can then be used to identify strategies for improving habitats and so protecting and increasing the existing wildlife. This could be done through:

  • Strategic fencing and planting
  • Vertebrate pest control
  • Weed management
  • Habitat restoration
  • Reinstating ecologically appropriate fire regimes
  • The balance between grazing management of the property and the wildlife

A3. Strategies to increase wildlife

In conjunction with the activities in A2, various strategies can be initiated to increase the wildlife on Hidden Vale. This could be done through:

  • Wildlife rehabilitation and release
  • Captive breeding and release

B) Research Areas and Projects

All of the above activities can and should be supported by research projects that could be undertaken at Hidden Vale, utilising the existing property and its various habitats, the visitors and facilities, and in particular the Wildlife Centre.

These can be grouped as follows:

B1. Ecological and Habitat Restoration Studies

  • Habitat restoration studies at a number of different sites through Hidden Vale 
  • Species, population and ecosystem-level impacts of restoration, management and release activities
  • Use of fire for restoration and land management
  • Weed control strategies for Hidden Vale
  • The success of habitat restoration in attracting wildlife (eg koalas to areas of new gum plantation)
  • Grazing management for biodiversity and wildlife habitat

B2. Native and Introduced Wildlife at Hidden Vale

  • Fauna surveys in a range of different habitats/sites at Hidden Vale to demonstrate:
    • The fauna currently endemic to Hidden Vale
    • The change in fauna numbers/densities following habitat restoration, rehabilitation and release, and captive breeding and release
  • The effectiveness of vertebrate pest control programs and their influence on the native fauna
  • Strategies to better control vertebrate pests at Hidden Vale

B3. Rehabilitation and Release of Native Wildlife

  • Factors important in determining the success of wildlife rehabilitation
  • Factors important in determining the success of wildlife release following rehabilitation
  • The effect of rehabilitation and release on wildlife 
  • Evaluation of new technologies for monitoring post-release wildlife

B4. Captive Breeding and Release of Native Wildlife

  • The captive breeding of a range of wildlife species 
  • Factors important in determining the success of wildlife release following captive breeding
  • Evaluation of new technologies for captive wildlife management
  • The effect of captive breeding and release on wildlife 

B5. Ecotourism and Visitor Studies

  • Hidden Vale visitor attitudes to wildlife and wildlife conservation
  • The ‘value’ that visitors place on the wildlife at Hidden Vale
  • The role of Hidden Vale in conserving and protecting native wildlife
  • The value and ‘attractiveness’ of wildlife and of the various wildlife programs at Hidden Vale to the visitors
  • Strategies for enhancing the Hidden Vale visitor experience through wildlife and conservation