One small part of the Resonating Spaces Project co-ordinated and developed by Paul Fletcher and Mark Pollard and a collaboration between VCA Animation VCA Contemporary Music and the Melbourne Zoo on October 26 2014. This animation of the Alpine She-Oak Skink was displayed in a screen at the bottom of a rubbish bin. There were a number of bins set along a trail in the zoo,each with an animation of an endangered species. Most of the animations were created by first year animation students at VCA. Student composers created soundscapes and music that was located along the trail, accessed by hidden speakers and headphones.
About the Alpine She-Oak Skink (written by Zoos Victoria)
The mountain habitats of the Alpine She-oak Skink (Cyclodomorphus praealtus) are so isolated that they are sometimes described as ‘sky islands’ – each mountain top is separated from the others by a ‘sea’ of lower-altitude habitat that is unsuitable for this species.
Alpine She-oak Skinks are only found in four locations in Victoria, as well as a scattering of locations in NSW, all above 1500m in altitude. Genetic differences between the Victorian and NSW populations suggest that these populations have not been connected for millennia, and the species is listed as endangered nationally.
Alpine She-oak Skinks hibernate over winter and are known to live for more than five years in the wild. Their life history is not well known, but individuals are thought to mature at 2–3 years of age, mate in late spring/early summer and give birth to 2–9 young in mid to late summer.
Because Alpine She-oak Skinks have such a restricted distribution, they are very vulnerable to events such as fire. A large fire could potentially kill many individuals. It would also destroy the understorey vegetation, and so make any remaining lizards very vulnerable to predators such as hawks and foxes.
Alpine She-oak Skink habitat has also been affected by:
The construction and maintenance of ski resorts and roads
Grazing and trampling by exotic herbivores such as feral horses and cattle
Previous fires (parts of the Bogong High Plains were burnt in 2003 and 2006/07)
Because Alpine She-oak Skinks are only found in alpine environments, they are also likely to be affected by climate change.