Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
WANTED: people with any information on rat traps that have gone missing from Spearwood wetlands.

The City of Cockburn and University of Western Australia are working on a collaborative research project to find out more about the Australian water rat – but some of the research equipment has fallen victim to anti-social behaviour.

UWA School of Animal Biology honours student Claire Smart said her research was designed to provide vital information on the ecology of the animals and invaluable conservation information about Cockburn wetlands.

“A large amount of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain have been destroyed and, of those remaining, many are degraded, polluted, contaminated or drying out,” she said. “We want to see the effect these changes have on wildlife in those areas.

“Little is known about the Australian water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster), an unusual species in the select group of semi-aquatic native animals that includes the platypus and seals.

“This lack of knowledge includes its distribution in the greater Perth area, preferred habitat type and what impact changes in the water chemistry or habitat quality have on its presence.”

Ms Smart’s project aims to survey numerous lakes and wetlands in the greater Perth metropolitan area to determine the urban distribution of the Australian water rat and whether its distribution has been affected.

Anyone with information on anti-social behaviour around Spearwood wetlands and the missing rat traps – or anyone seeing Australian water rats in the area – should call Claire Smart on 0425 193 367 or email [email protected]

More information is also available by contacting the City of Cockburn’s Environmental Services Department on (08) 9411 3444.

Contact Profile

City of Cockburn

The City of Cockburn celebrates its 30th birthday in 2009, regarded as one of Perth’s fastest growing and culturally-diverse local governments.

With a population of about 80,000, it has grown into one of Perth’s most dynamic and successful areas. The population is made up of a large percentage of children, families and seniors, and a large percentage of people born overseas (28.8%).

As a developing city, Cockburn has a good mix of residential, rural and conservation areas and has more than 2000 businesses. The City of Cockburn, as a council, has a continuing mission to make the area the most attractive place to live, work and visit in the metropolitan area.
Chris Thomas
P: (08) 9411 3551

Claire Smart

P: 0425 193 367


Missing rat traps affect research project in WA


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