This project aims to determine the critical factors that support remaining refuge habitat for small mammals in the western Otway Ranges and establish required management prescriptions and guidelines to support small mammal recovery in other areas, including the eastern Otway Ranges.

Conserving threatened small mammals in the Otway Ranges, Bells Beach (Ironbark Basin) and Great Ocean Road Hinterland

The project will deliver research across the Otways to protect threatened mammals, their habitat and refuges. Historical and current data will be employed to determine the status of species; their distribution and relationship to habitat and refuges; and factors that support refuges.

Assessment of the resilience of mammal diversity and richness in Carlisle Heathland will improve understanding of threatened species declines elsewhere, thus providing effective ways to assist species recovery. Project outcomes will be incorporated into pragmatic management, monitoring, and recovery plans.

Working with land managers, control chart reporting will be developed to create clear and timely evidence for threatened species management. This project will support research on the diet and impacts of feral cats and improve understanding of the sensitivity of threatened mammals to cat predation.

Delivery & Supporting Partners

The lead consultant for this sub-project is Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd. The project delivery team includes Dr Barbara Wilson, Dr Mark Garkaklis (Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd), Dr Phoebe Burns (Zoos Victoria), Dr Jack Pascoe (Conservation Ecology Centre) and Dr John White (Deakin University).

Dr Tim Doherty (Deakin University and University of Sydney), Professor Chris Dickman (University of Sydney, NESP, Threatened Species Recovery Hub) and Professor John Woinarski (Charles Darwin University, NESP, Threatened Species Recovery Hub) will provide high level review of the project.

Mr Darcy Watchorn (PhD Research Student, Deakin University) will provide threatened mammal data from his research program in the Otways and provide input into the confirmation of critical refuge habitat in the Otways.

Linkages With Other Sub-Projects

Data sets and analyses collated and created from this project can be applied across several projects in the Wild Otways Initiative. Research on the diet, impacts and management of feral cats and foxes included in this project will improve understanding of the sensitivity of threatened mammals to cat predation with direct links with Sub-project: Fox and Cat Management.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Australian Government’s Wild Otway initiative is a three-year $6m commitment towards threatened species management and pest animal control in the greater Otway’s region. The Initiative includes the delivery of a broad and inclusive environmental community grants program and five commissioned sub-projects, which include pig and deer eradication, fox and cat management, Phytophthora (a plant pathogen) management, small mammal conservation and rewilding in the Otways.

Australian Government Wild Otways Initiative website page will be updated regularly with more information when the on-ground works begin. Our CCMA media channels will also be an outlet for project updates. If you would like to receive our regular project Communique please subscribe below to be apart of our distribution below.


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The project area for the initiative covers the area from Jan Juc/Bells Beach to Peterborough, and the Great Otway National Park and hinterlands (Otways Region) in South West Victoria.

The initiative will be delivered in the Greater Otways region of Victoria over the next three years to June 2023.

This project is support by the Corangamite CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund. This project will run until 2023.

Contact Us

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PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250
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T: 1800 002 262
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54A Corio St, Geelong VIC 3220
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T: 1800 002 262
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