Perfect storm of circumstance put black cockatoo on endangered list
THE Australian Government has categorised the Carnaby's black cockatoos as endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.
They live for 40 to 50 years in the wild and a large proportion of the present population is now past breeding age; when they die, there will be very few younger birds to take their place.
The Government has categorised forest red-tailed and Baudin's black cockatoos as vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.
Habitat loss and fragmentation has been the main cause of decline of WA's black cockatoos (Baudin's, Carnaby's and forest red-tailed) and is the biggest threat to their fu- ture survival, according to the Australian Government.
Only 10 per cent of southwest WA's original native vegetation remains and the rest has been cleared, mainly for mining, agriculture and logging. The loss of oldgrowth forest has meant suitable nesting hollows are scarce.
Baudin's black cockatoos, for example, nest only in trees that are 130 to 220 years old, and forest red-tails nest only in trees aged at least 209.
These are precisely the type of trees traditional logging practices targeted and logging rotation policies did not allow trees to grow old enough to develop adequate hollows, though logging regulations have changed in recent years.
Competition for the hollows is now fierce between species of black and other cockatoos.
Wildfires caused by lightning or arson are potentially catastrophic threats, reducing food availability and causing older trees with nesting hollows to fall.
Other causes of a falling black cockatoo population include predation, collisions with cars, illegal trade and shootings.