EMERGENCY BUSHFIRE FUNDRAISER FOR THE KANGAROO ISLAND GLOSSY BLACK-COCKATOO
The Kangaroo Island glossy black-cockatoo has lost 50% of its habitat over the past week. The habitat lost supported 70% of the glossies on the island.
With a population of fewer than 400 birds before this crisis, this loss of habitat will be a major setback to the long-running conservation efforts for this unique bird.
The Kangaroo Island glossy black-cockatoo became extinct on the mainland of Australia decades ago, following habitat loss. The subspecies is now entirely confined to small pockets of habitat on the island. The glossy is entirely dependent on drooping she-oak, its only food source. Without she-oak, glossies cannot survive.
As one of Australia's true conservation success stories, dedicated conservation work over the last 25 years has increased the population to about 400 birds, from a critical state of ~115 birds in the 1980s.
But the past week has seen much of this hard work lost. It's very likely that many birds perished in the fires. This has undoubtedly brought them closer to extinction.
There is now an urgent need to ramp up recovery works. Specific actions required are:
- To assess the extent of the damage to glossy black-cockatoo habitat, including feeding and breeding habitats.
- To install artificial nest boxes in areas where food is still sufficient, as the 2020 breeding season is starting soon.
- To ensure that every nest tree is protected from possum predation, as possums were (before the fires) the greatest threat to the survival of the glossy black-cockatoo. This requires fixing and replacing iron collars on all nest trees and pruning canopies so that possums can't jump to nests from neighbouring trees.
- To monitor nesting success rates and population size in response to this crisis. This will help prioritise additional conservation work in the near to the medium-term.
- To determine how well burnt habitats will regenerate, and where additional tree planting is required and will be effective.
- To work to minimise any damage to the unburnt habitat that remains.
Money raised will be managed by the Nature Foundation SA, which funds the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo Recovery Program.
Our message of hope is that we know what actions need to be taken, and we have seen these actions work in the past.
We'd like to sincerely thank you for your support during this devastating time.