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Warru Kaninytjaku Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Project Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

Warru Kaninytjaku Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Project
(Looking after Black-footed Rock Wallabies in the APY Lands)

One of South Australia’s most endangered mammals being brought back from the brink.

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Land Management’s Warru Project team conducted a trapping event over four days within a feral-free fenced area otherwise known as the Pintji (pronounced “pin-chi”) located in the north east of the APY lands. The trapping was undertaken to assess and monitor one of South Australia’s most endangered mammal species, the Warru or Black-footed Rock Wallaby, (Petrogale lateralis).

This trapping event confirmed that newly relocated Warru, which have recently been released into the Pintji from Monarto Zoo near Adelaide are doing exceptionally well in their new home, with all Warru in good condition and females showing early signs of reproduction. A new record was broken during the event with a 76% trap success and a total of 11 previously un-trapped animals captured, indicating a significant increase in the population.

Warru were once found right across the APY lands. However in the past 80 years their range has dramatically reduced and they now only exist in two small areas, one near Pukatja (Ernabella) community in the East and one near Kalka community in the west. Ongoing collaborations with Traditional Owners, Anangu (local indigenous) rangers, APY Land Management, Natural Resources Alinytjara-Wilurara (NRAW), Monarto Zoo and the Warru Recovery Team which consists of expert consultants, see the programme going from strength to strength. Warru Field Officer, Ethan Dagg says “I really enjoy working with other organisations and with scientists who come out to the lands. We are all working together for the same thing, to look after the Warru”.

Back in 2007, pouch young from populations within the Musgrave and Hinkley Ranges on the APY lands were taken to Monarto Zoo to establish a captive breeding program to prevent any chance of extinction. Earlier this year in March, five Warru were successfully relocated back to their home on the APY lands and into the feral-free exclosure or Pintji.  Two of these released Warru were the founding joeys of the captive breeding program at Monarto Zoo in 2007.

Warru Kaninytjaku Project Coordinator, Kate Holmes says “The ultimate aim is to re-release these animals back into the wild to extend the species distribution in the hope to one day down-list Warru from endangered to vulnerable in South Australia”. Even though the APY lands are so remote, tucked away in the North West corner of South Australia it’s fantastic to have all of these collaborations as this country is home to rich culture and biodiversity.

Warru were once a favoured food source amongst the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people (Anangu) however now Anangu want to protect them. Many of the Warru rangers and Traditional Owners have been involved in the programme from the very beginning. Warru minyma (Senior Women) have even incorporated the story of the Warru leaving the lands to go to Monarto Zoo into traditional inma (traditional song and dance).

This project not only aims to protect the Warru but also to provide training and employment opportunities for Anangu providing positive environmental and social outcomes. With support and funding from the Australian Government’s ‘Working on Country’ programme, this project is a fantastic example of the outcomes long-term funding can achieve. Traditional Owner Tjaria Stanley says “I have worked on this Warru Project for a long time, when my grandsons were little and still going to school. Now my grandsons are Warru Rangers too. I want to see this Warru Project grow and see Warru back on their country, where they used to live once”.

To follow this story and find out about the many other exciting projects happening on the APY Lands you can find us on Facebook “APY Lands - Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara”

To get involved please contact APY Land Management on 08 8954 817

 

 
PMB 227 Umuwa via Alice Springs, NT 0872. Ph: (08) 8954 8132 Fax: (08) 8954 8110 ABN: 77 261 612 162