Conservation photos, part I: Carpet Pythons

This morning, Twitter informed of a recent post on the Early Career Ecologists blog (which you can find here) about the value of photography for ecological research. It’s a great post, and it got me thinking about the plethora of pics I’ve taken over the years during research projects. Some have specific purposes, others are simply to document the process or the beautiful creatures and landscapes I’ve had the fortune to study. It got me thinking: “I should be doing more with this pictorial resource!”.

So here goes folks, the first of a series of blogs sharing these pics with you. Where better to start than with a research project on the endangered (and magnificent!) Inland Carpet Python in Victoria, which I was lucky enough to take part in during 2001…..

A tough old girl from the Murray Sunset National Park. What a cracker.

Her kind of country – Red Gum and Black Box woodland

And her kind of roost site – old hollow-bearing Black Box over lignum

Warby Ranges granite, where I did my Honours research. Fantastic country.

Some more…

My trusty Feroza put in the hard yards. God bless that car.

No. 4, who I tracked for 6 months, had a penchant for the Homestead garden. Here he is resting up after a big meal.

Spot the python…. (centre top)

Another haunt of No. 4’s: a big White Box. He was in the hollow jutting out centre right.

No. 4 liked to hunt rabbits in the summer. Here’s a burrow he spent sometime down. Part of my work was to investigate the timing of rabbit burrow ripping to minimise effects on python populations. The answer: don’t do it in summer!

Another threatening process. A logging coupe in Red Gum west of Mildura. Logging and firewood collection remove vital homesites for pythons, in the form of old hollow bearing trees and fallen hollow timber.

Even small hollows like this one are extremely important to individual pythons – they return to them year-after-year. And they take years to form. If anyone reading this blog heats their house with Red Gum firewood, please, please, switch to plantation timber.