Spotlighting is a widely used method to survey a range of nocturnal mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs. Australia has a high number of nocturnal marsupials so spotlighting is a particularly useful and non-invasive monitoring technique. It is most commonly used by Treetec ecologists for determining presence and density of otherwise elusive arboreal (tree dwelling) marsupials such as gliders and possums.
The spotlighting technique can be additionally enhanced using call playback where the calls of target species are played and an animal responds allowing them to be identified by their call or visually under spotlight. Call playback works well for other nocturnal species also such as owls and frogs and is a widely used, non-invasive monitoring technique.
As with remote wildlife camera surveys, spotlighting has a low impact on the species being targeted. It is extremely useful for surveying species where remote camera survey detection is unlikely; such as nocturnal arboreal species which use the highest parts of the tree canopy. In Victoria these canopy specialists include Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), Yellow-bellied Gliders (Petaurus australis) and Greater Gliders (Petauroides volans).
Spotlighting transects are often used to provide an accurate assessment of population changes in mammal populations for conservation and management purposes. Treetec ecologists use the same monitoring technique i.e. walking the same distances at the same speed through pre-determined kilometre long transects. This allows for different sites to be able to be compared against each other for population accuracy.
Treetec is in a position to be able to provide both the ecological expertise, and equipment necessary, for both spotlighting and call playback for a variety of species. We are also able to run these surveys in combination with thermal imaging or remote wildlife camera surveys, if required.