Image credit: Eric Woehler

posted 14 September, 2021

Funding announced for Wedge-tailed Eagles research

NRM South is pleased to announce this year’s successful recipients for our Wedge-tailed Eagles research grants program. The Wedge-tailed Eagle Research Fund, administered by NRM South, aims to offset potential impacts to Wedge-tailed Eagles at the Cattle Hill wind farm. Our funding rounds are made available annually and work to support high quality ecological or other relevant scientific research on the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, the results of which will assist with their management and protection.

In 2020, University of Tasmania researchers Dr. James Pay and Professor Elissa Cameron received grant funding to find out more about how adult Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles use areas of reserved land and wilderness. This year, funding has been awarded to two projects that will be working on determining Wedge-tailed Eagle population sizes and trends but using very different techniques.

Knowing the size of a population is an important step in developing conservation strategies. But this isn’t always a simple task, especially where a species is elusive and has a big home range.

The first research project, which has been fully funded, has been awarded to researchers from the University of Tasmania, the Australian National University and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The project will use modern genetic analysis techniques to develop more precise population size estimates. Researchers will also be investigating how the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle population has changed over the last century by analysing and comparing contemporary and historical museum specimens.

The second project, which has been part-funded, has been awarded to Bookend Trust and The Analytical Edge to analyse data collected by the Where? Where? Wedgie! project, a statewide population long-term monitoring project that aims to guide recovery efforts for Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles. Funding will go towards work to assess and control for variation in detection from the survey volunteers, for example how landscape features or prevailing conditions might impact on visibility.

The three research projects now underway are all contributing to improving our knowledge about the ecology, behaviour and population of Tasmania’s endangered Wedge-tailed Eagle, and will contribute to conservation efforts for this species into the future.