I had the opportunity to assist DEC as a volunteer with their Factors affecting establishment in the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) recovery plan project. Specifically, radio-tracking two juvenile numbats and their mother in the second week of a two week monitoring programme.
The purpose of the project led by Tony Friend and Karen Rusten is to determine the interaction between the young and mother at the stage the young are emerging from the burrow and beginning to disperse.
Unfortunately, the two juveniles that we were tracking were lost to predation only two days into the second week of tracking. This meant that the DEC team were required to decide on another family to monitor and choose new sites for the radio tracking stations.
The next day we dismantled the four tracking towers, and moved the towers, shelters and equipment to new sites.
Radio-tracking began again in earnest as soon as all four towers were erected. The movements of a mother, her two young, and possibly two other unrelated numbats that may come into range were monitored.
Team members that were not out in the field moving towers performed the first shift on the towers in the new sites.
Numbat radio-tracking duties involved 4-5 hour shifts on a tracking tower and entering the recorded data into a computer back at the base camp.
I’m not sure whether I have the ear, but it was explained that the system and process were somewhat forgiving. But I never had time to read or take more than two or three photographs between taking a set of fixes.
At one stage, I was convinced that the numbats were partying very close and were dancing around within the range of the antenna.
I did not see any numbats when radio-tracking, but I did see them when we went on driving surveys and in the bush near where we were staying.
The following photographs I have uploaded to BurningWell.org, a Public Domain repository.