Yalarrnga cross-cultural investigation of diet, management history and threats to Petrogale purpureicollis
This project aimed to understand the diet, management history and Yalarrnga perception of threats to the Ngarlingarli Kurri (Purple-necked rock-wallaby, Petrogale purpureicollis) on Yalarrnga Country. The project was instigated through collaboration with the Yalarrnga Country Rangers. The Yalarrnga are obligated to conserve the Ngarlingarli Kurr, as is a culturally significant species, meaning it is entwined with Yalarrnga culture and identity. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Yalarrnga people to record their biocultural knowledge of the species. Scat content was assessed, using the microhistological analysis, to determine diet at the functional group level. Analyses showed the Ngarlingarli Kurri selected across the functional groups browse, forbs, grasses and Solanum spp. even where species cover, presence and richness were low. Micro-histological scat analysis corroborated Yalarrnga knowledge of Ngarlingarli Kurri diet, suggesting that the species browses Walmangu (Solanaceae spp.), spinifex, and a range of other native species, as well as the invasive Cenchrus ciliaris. The threats to the Ngarlingarli Kurri identified by the Yalarrnga were over browsing by introduced herbivores, mining and land use change, predation by native and introduced species, changes in traditional fire regimes and a loss of Yalarrnga management on Country. This project contributes biocultural knowledge to the understanding Ngarlingarli Kurri's ecology.