Kangaroo Island
Wildlife Network

| Kangaroo Island |

Australian Bushfires Impact Endangered Species

Sadly recent bushfires have ravaged the Australian bush far and wide. Many iconic species such as the kangaroo and koala have received much media coverage – and rightly so – but there are countless other lesser known species fighting for survival.

Glossy Black Cockatoo from kangaroo Island

Glossy Black Cockatoo

The South Australian Glossy Black-Cockatoo endemic to South Australia’s Kangaroo Island is one example. Before the fires their population was estimated at just 400 individuals. The cockatoos feed almost exclusively on the seeds of one species of tree, the drooping she-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata). Initial estimates indicate as much as 59% of their habitat has been impacted by the bushfires, and this loss has put the species in a very vulnerable position.

Native tree for the Glossy Black Cockatoos

Drooping She-oak

The Glossy Black-Cockatoo Recovery Program, headed by Karleah Berris, is now underway. Karleah and her team are worried that the birds that have survived the bushfires may not be able to find enough food in the coming months, particularly as fires are still burning on the island. There is hope though. A healthy she-oak woodland on the eastern half of the island has escaped the fires, as well as small isolated patches within the burnt areas. Some birds have already been sighted post-fire feeding on these small patches of surviving she-oaks.

President of KIWN Kate Welz holding Glossy Black Cockatoo

Kate Welz – President of KIWN with a baby Glossy Black

A detailed survey of the she-oak woodland and nests left within the burned area (once safe to do so) is the first step. Installing nest boxes near the she-oak woodland that remains will be paramount in providing the population with enough breeding habitat. The last and most important will be the continual planting of new trees, well-spaced and planted in cleared country to quicken the regrowth process. It is hoped that they will begin to produce seeds within 7 years.

Planting trees on Kangaroo Island

Planting the Drooping She-oak

As a travel business specialising in our planet’s most unique environments we are committed to protecting important and vulnerable wilderness, and we make regular contributions to conservation. Every client who books with us has the opportunity to donate $10 (or more) which we than match dollar for dollar. Our most recent conservation contribution, a total of AUD$11,600, has been donated to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network (KIWN) to help with the long term recovery of the island.

Rescued Koala on Kangaroo Island

Planting the Drooping She-oak

If you would like to assist and make
your own donation please go to:

KIWN page

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