9 good reasons to celebrate World Wildlife Day
To celebrate World Wildlife Day (3 March) we’re putting the spotlight on work being done by landscape boards and their amazing partners to conserve threatened native fauna across South Australia.
Here we feature one species from each of the nine landscape regions, all of which are listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
1. Purple-spotted gudgeon – South Australian Arid Lands
The risk of extinction for the threatened purple-spotted gudgeon was greatly reduced when 600 were helicoptered to new homes in the Flinders Ranges, doubling the population sites of the species.
Not only did they survive the move and the winter, there’s now young fry to be found.
2. Glossy black-cockatoo – Kangaroo Island
The glossy black-cockatoo found on KI is a separate sub-species to those found in the eastern states.
They are considered conservation dependent, meaning without our help they will likely become extinct.
They are fussy eaters – feeding almost exclusively on the seeds of the drooping sheoak.
With more than half of their feeding habitat destroyed in the 2019-20 Kangaroo Island bushfires, the glossies need our help more than ever.
3. Warru – Alinytjara Wilulara
SA’s most endangered mammal, the warru (black-flanked wallaby) was once widespread throughout the ranges of central Australia.
Predation by foxes and cats have contributed to the significant decline of SA’s warru populations over the past 80 years.
In 2007 pouch young from wild populations in the APY Lands were taken to Monarto Zoo and cross-fostered by yellow-footed rock wallabies.
The return of the warru to a new 100 ha predator-free enclosure in the APY Lands, their successful breeding and their eventual release back to areas where they had become extinct is a credit to the Aboriginal Warru Rangers and their partners.
4. Brush-tailed bettong – Northern and Yorke Peninsula
After being locally extinct for more than a century, the brush-tailed bettong has been reintroduced to mainland South Australia, specifically at two sites on southern Yorke Peninsula as part of the Marna Banggara project with the hope that they’ll thrive in their new home.
Also known as ‘nature’s gardener’, brush-tailed bettongs spread native plant seeds and dig up between two to six tonnes of dirt and leaf litter each year, which improves water infiltration, nutrient cycling and helps native plants grow.
5. Grey-headed flying fox – Green Adelaide
Grey-headed flying-foxes, or fruit bats, are a threatened native animal who are wonderful pollinators, know how swim and love eating blossoms. Find out more about these interesting and delightful creatures of the night – just in time for the launch of the new batman movie
6. Black-eared miner – Murraylands and Riverland
The once widespread black-eared miner is one of Australia’s rarest endemic bird species and lives in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia.
Read more about the work being done to protect the habitat of threatened mallee birds and watch the video about how bulldozers are being used in critical conservation work.
7. Australasian bittern (aka the bunyip bird) – Limestone Coast
The Australasian bittern (aka the bunyip bird) is a famous wetland bird whose national population could now number as few as 2000 due mainly to loss and degradation of its preferred reedy wetland habitat.
With less than two per cent of original wetland area remaining in the Limestone Coast region, the bunyip bird is a future focus for work being done to restore freshwater wetlands in the area.
8. Western beautiful firetail – Hills and Fleurieu
Bird monitoring at revegetation sites in the Hills and Fleurieu region has revealed that, within a few years of planting, the critically endangered western beautiful firetail is already using the new habitat.
The western beautiful firetail is the smallest species of the firetail finch family and is identified from other local bird species by its bright crimson rump, red bill and black face mask.
Read more about this exciting news.
9. Hooded plover
On Eyre Peninsula (EP), we keep a close eye on this shy beach-dwelling bird (often confused with the noisy, swooping common plover).
Being a beach-nesting bird, they are highly vulnerable and can make many attempts at breeding in one season.
Last breeding season as few as six chicks reached fledgling age on EP beaches.
This season we’ve already seen triplets and twins get to the magical 35 days of age when they can fly and improve their chances of escaping from predators.
How you can help
Check your local landscape board websites or follow them on social media for details of these and other great projects underway to help our wildlife and what you can do to help.