Call for stronger Act to pro­tect birds

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Victoria Park/south Perth - Michele Nu­gent

THE En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter and Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife have re­it­er­ated aware­ness of rem­nant plan­ta­tion pines as a food source for the Carn­aby’s black cock­a­too in the wake of wor­ry­ing re­sults of the 2014 Great Cocky Count.

Al­bert Ja­cob and a depart­ment spokesman said re­moval of the Gnan­gara pine plan­ta­tions was be­ing con­sid­ered in the strate­gic as­sess­ment for land de­vel­op­ment in the Perth and Peel re­gions un­der the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999.

But Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has called for a stronger Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act to en­sure WA flora and fauna thrives long into the fu­ture.

“The tra­jec­tory in­di­cates a grim demise for the bird if we do not com­mit more time and ef­fort to save it,” she said.

“This year, the Great Cocky Count in­cluded a five-year anal­y­sis, which in­di­cates the cock­a­too pop­u­la­tion has been de­clin­ing by 15 per cent an­nu­ally since 2010.”

Mr Ja­cob said the State Gov­ern­ment was tak­ing a strate­gic ap­proach to plan- ning that quan­ti­fied the im­pact of the pine re­moval on the birds, along with other pro­posed de­vel­op­ments.

“A re­cov­ery plan for Carn­aby’s Cock­a­toos is well-es­tab­lished and brings to­gether or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife, BirdLife Aus­tralia, Perth Zoo and Mur­doch Univer­sity to ad­dress key is­sues such as feed­ing and breed­ing re­quire­ments, pop­u­la­tion vi­a­bil­ity and the health and dis­ease sta­tus of the species,” he said.

“Since 2008-09, more than $20 mil­lion has been in­vested by in­dus­try bod­ies, through en­vi­ron­men­tal off­sets linked to de­vel­op­ment ap­provals, to pro­tect WA’s three species of black cock­a­toos.

“More than 15,000 hectares of Carn­aby’s habi­tat has been pur­chased and trans­ferred into the con­ser­va­tion es­tate.”

A depart­ment spokesman said the re­port ac­knowl­edged the count only cov­ered a part of the over­all pop­u­la­tion of Carn­aby’s cock­a­toos (about a quar­ter), and that a wider survey ef­fort was needed to un­der­stand pop­u­la­tion trends across the south­west of WA.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Curtin Univer­sity’s Of­fice of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity Prop­er­ties man­ager Odile Pouliquen-Young at a site on cam­pus, which is in the top 10 of metro roosts for the Carn­aby's black cock­a­too.

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