The way ahead for Kakadu’s threatened species

10 December 2014

An ambitious strategy which strives to address worrying declines of threatened species in Kakadu National Park has been released.

The new ‘Kakadu Threatened Species Strategy’ was commissioned by Kakadu National Park and developed by the Northern Australian Hub with input from Parks Australia.

The plan, launched last month by Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham, prioritises the plants, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals at risk of extinction in the World Heritage listed park.

Kakadu is blessed with an array of riches. This includes 75 threatened species, probably more than any other conservation reserve in Australia.

The threatened species are as varied as the threats they face, at the forefront of which are inappropriate fire regimes and predation by feral cats.

Lead author and wildlife expert Professor John Woinarski has been working in Kakadu for more than the past 20 years.

“It was one of the greatest spots in Australia to be a zoologist, but over the course of the last 20 years a large proportion of that fauna has just crumbled,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do now is reverse that, to provide hope and to ensure those species that have declined catastrophically in Kakadu can recover.”

The Federal Government recognised the importance of urgent action and has committed an extra $750,000 to begin work on the strategy immediately.

The investment will deliver four priority projects, including intensive work to target threats from fire, weeds and feral animals, as well as the creation of a wildlife refuge on Gardangarl (Field Island).

Many of the threats facing threatened species in Kakadu are deeply rooted and turning things around will take time.

The strategy will operate over 10 years and will consider urgent priorities, as well as sustained management actions.

“It’s not just lip service. The strategy and the actions in the strategy are being implemented and properly resourced. If this continues, then the future of Kakadu and its extraordinary biodiversity will be secured,” Professor Woinarski said.

The new approach will also fine tune Kakadu’s management structure and seeks to involve traditional owners. Read the full strategy here.


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