Protecting threatened species and collaborating with those working on the land is a big part of natural resource management; so when Territory Natural Resource Management was invited to an Australian-first event involving more than 100 Indigenous rangers and scientists sharing practices that protect bilbies, we gladly agreed.
Territory NRM has created a short two-minute video showcasing our own Arid Lands Regional Coordinator Jen Kreusser's trip to Kiwirrkurra in the remote Gibson Desert last month, where the inaugural Ninu (bilby) festival was held.
Click here to download a technical report on the event (compiled by R. Paltridge, Desert Wildlife Services) and here to download a separate, cultural report (compiled by F. Walsh).
The first lesson for the more than 150 attendees was that there are hundreds of names for the small mammal, commonly known as bilby in the English language.
For the purpose of the three-day festival the Pintupi name Ninu was mostly used, as this is the main language of the local Kiwirrkurra people.
Indigenous people and ranger groups from Kiwirrkurra as well as from places as far as Broome, Kalgoorlie, Tennant Creek, and Halls Creek shared how they are monitoring and managing Ninu populations. They also spoke about the cultural significance Ninu holds in their local communities.
Traditional cat hunting techniques were a popular topic, along with stories of how these methods have proven effective when used to reduce pressure on known native animal populations.
Scientists shared their techniques and methods about analysing scats, and how they are using the latest technology such as drones and remote cameras to monitor Ninu and its predators.
Indigenous presenters demonstrated how they are applying cultural knowledge, using fire appropriately and hunting and trapping feral cats in order to support habitats for healthy Ninu populations.
For more information on Territory NRM's involvement with threatened species please check out our recently released five-year plan.
Within the Northern Territory Ninu is listed as a threatened species in the Top End and Arid Lands regions.
You can also click here for a comprehensive overview of the Ninu Festival from those involved in putting it together.
The Ninu Festival was supported by Territory NRM through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.