moonvoice: (calm - wallaby heart)
[personal profile] moonvoice
The last of a batch of 8 Australian totems,
most of which are Endangered or Critically Endangered.
These guys are all technically Critically Endangered,
though not all have been officially evaluated by the IUCN as of yet.
Some may be gone by then...
Commission information available here.

Western Ground Parrot as Totem
Prints available at DeviantArt

Meanings - Rarity

The element of fire is threatening, the importance of staying grounded as often as possible, being able and reluctant to fly and soar, creating pathways through liminal places, sunrise and sunset, elusive wisdom, shyness, hiding your knowledge from others, rarity, preferring to have a range to choose from, selection is important, appearing inaccessible, camouflage and blending in, the power of the colour green.

General Description:

The western ground parrot is a Critically Endangered parrot found only in a small pocket of Western Australia. With only around 110 remaining (from a known population of about 400), it is one of the world’s rarest birds. They are a distinctive green parrot, with black and brown barring. It spends most of its time on the ground. They inhabit low heathland over deep, white sand. They are found around a high biodiversity of plants, with plenty of sedge. They prefer land that isn’t frequently burnt (preferably land that hasn’t experienced fire for decades, though they will compromise on that front). They consume a wide range of seeds, flower buds, the base of flowers and succulent leaves. They nest on the ground, in a small depression under thick and sometimes prickly vegetation.

They were described as a separate species to the Eastern ground parrot in 2010. The first photo was taken in 2004. They feed alone or with a single other bird. They do not often call or fly during the day. When startled, they will fly low in a zigzag pattern and land 100 metres or so away. They prefer to stay hidden in low vegetation and their plumage is excellent camouflage. They are most vocal at sunrise and sunset. It has a cryptic nature, and has not been well-studied. They are primarily threatened by feral animals like foxes and cats. They are seriously threatened by the possibility of bushfires. Their plants are threatened by the dieback fungus.

Western Swamp Tortoise as Totem
Prints available at DeviantArt

Meanings - Specifics

Specifics, needing very specific environments and circumstances within which to thrive, resist pressure to be anything other than yourself, wetland and swamp magic, needing extended times of relaxation or dormancy, being grounded, patience, taking it slow, longevity, wisdom accrued from experience, needing the support of others to get by, a connection to Western Australia, coming alive when connected to sunlight, keep your feet on the ground, tenacity, finding yourself disadvantaged by your own habits.

General Description:

The western swamp tortoise (western swamp turtle) is a Critically Endangered, short-necked, small freshwater tortoise endemic to south-west Western Australia. Females are smaller than males, and neither grows longer than 15.5 centimetres in length. Their colouring depends on their age and environment, though they are typically grey above and cream/black below. They have short legs, with well-developed claws and scale-like scutes. Their head has a single, large scute. They are the smallest tortoise/turtle found in Australia. They are long-lived; with females being capable of breeding for around 60-70 years. They are carnivorous, taking insects, larvae, crustaceans, tadpoles and earthworms.

They are found in shallow, periodic swamps that fill after autumn rains; on clay or sand-on-clay soils. They mate in the water. Females use energy acquired during active periods to create eggs during aestivation. They aestivate in burrows for six months of the year. Nesting occurs in daylight, often on cloudy days. They are threatened by restricted range, cleared land, urban/industrial development, predation by native and feral animals, increasing aridity due to global warming, poor fire-burning strategies and the draining of wetlands. They are also disadvantaged by their low fertility and slow growth rates. They are only recorded in scattered or fragmented populations on the Swan Coastal Plain – from Perth Airport to the Pearce Royal Australian Air Force Base in Bullsbrook. Most of their range has been cleared, urbanised or farmed intensively. They have home ranges, but their natural home ranges are often larger than the reserves they are contained within. They only have a single viable wild population, with approximately 30 individuals in the site (an increase from the 8 breeding adults recorded in 1979 to 1982). There are captive breeding projects (like that at Perth Zoo) designed to breed and re-release these rare tortoises.

Yellow Snouted Ground Gecko as Totem
Prints available at DeviantArt

Meanings - The Small Pictures

A connection to the leaf litter, sifting through the details to find nourishment and wisdom, looking away from the bigger picture, the details, liking the wet and the damp, a connection to river beings and energies, the small things, finding your way of life, or your sense of self threatened, clashing with the element of fire, clashes with cat energy, celebrate the soft, cool places, regeneration, being able to regrow and renew yourself after trauma.

General Description:

The yellow snouted gecko (yellow-snouted ground gecko) is the smallest Australian gecko species, at 4.1 centimetres. It is endemic to the Northern Territory which considers them Endangered. They are small, with brown and white patterning, as well as a reddish head and yellow nose. They are only found in the red soils of the Mary River/West Alligator River catchments, under Darwin stringybark and woollybutt in their respective woodlands. They live in the leaf litter and are ground-dwelling. They take insects and other small animals. Very little is known about their habits. There are concerns for the species survival, as many surveys in regions where they have been known, have failed to turn up any geckos. They are sensitive to fire, and require unburnt leaf litter within which to survive. They can be predated upon by feral cats. Only 10 individual geckos have been reported, from a total of 22,000 trap-nights, suggesting a very low population of geckos, especially as they should be easily captured.
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