Carnaby’s black cockatoo numbers on the rise as conservation efforts reap rewards

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Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
O'Connor MP Rick Wilson, South Coast NRM monitoring and evaluation co-ordinator Ray Chilton and board member James Kernaghan with a 'cockatube'.
Camera IconO'Connor MP Rick Wilson, South Coast NRM monitoring and evaluation co-ordinator Ray Chilton and board member James Kernaghan with a 'cockatube'. Credit: South Coast NRM

Carnaby’s black cockatoo numbers are on the rise thanks to the efforts of conservation groups and farmers on a dozen properties across the South West.

The Federal Government in 2020 provided $3 million to five Natural Resource Management Groups across the region to help reverse the decline of the endangered cockatoo species in collaboration with Birdlife Australia.

Carnaby’s black cockatoos are found only in the South West of WA and a loss of habitat, food plants and nesting sites across the region have seen the population halve in the past 50 years.

Albany’s South Coast NRM has been one of the groups working on the project, which has helped the landowners of 12 private properties improve cockatoo habitats and feeding sites in a bid to boost the number of breeding pairs and survival rates of fledglings.

Recovery actions include installing artificial nesting hollows known as “cockatubes” across the properties, repairing natural tree hollows and fencing around cockatoo feeding habitats.

South Coast NRM monitoring and evaluation co-ordinator Ray Chilton with a “cockatube”.
Camera IconSouth Coast NRM monitoring and evaluation co-ordinator Ray Chilton with a “cockatube”. Credit: South Coast NRM

Over two seasons, the Protecting Black Cockatoos project has monitored 500 natural and 30 artificial nesting hollows which have recorded a steady increase in fledgling numbers.

This year the project will focus on the revegetation of vital Carnaby’s black cockatoo feeding habitat within a 12km breeding site.

South Coast NRM board member James Kernaghan said it was pleasing to see the team’s work getting results.

“What is most pleasing is to see tangible outcomes from the work being done by the team at South Coast NRM,” he said.

“To see footage of newly-hatched chicks in artificial nests is truly a heart-warming outcome.”

O’Connor MHR Rick Wilson applauded the work of South Coast NRM and landholders to protect the “magnificent species”.

“With my electorate spanning the vast majority of the south coast, a region known for its incredible biodiversity, I am naturally keen to see our endemic species survive and flourish,” he said.

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