Protecting threatened malleefowl in Western Australia

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Australia/New-Zealand > Australia

Malleefowl on nest mound. Australia.
© WWF Australia / Jessica Van der Waag

Summary

The ground-dwelling malleefowl is a threatened species in Australia. Once common, their numbers have seriously declined over the last 100 years due to land clearing, wildlife and introduced predators, such as fox.

WWF is working with the Western Australia Mallefowl Network – a collection of community groups, government, universities and NGOs – to coordinate conservation action for the protection of malleefowl. Together, the network identifies malleefowl population hotspots and establishes a statewide monitoring programme to assess the future status of malleefowl populations.

Background

Malleefowl are a threatened species. The distribution of malleefowl in Western Australia has been greatly reduced to the combined impacts of a number of factors, including land clearing, introduced predators, introduced herbivores and wildfire.

Remnant populations of this iconic species occur in all Western Australian natural resource management (NRM) regions, particularly in the South coast, Avon and the Northern agricultural regions. They have a broad distribution in the Southern Rangelands but their current status there is unknown.

At present, there is no authoritative data to adequately reflect the current status of malleefowl in Western Australia. Although there are regular sightings of malleefowl across key regions in Southwest Australia, until a long-term monitoring programme is instigated, the status of the malleefowl will remain unknown.

Objectives

1) Strengthen the cooperation and links between regional and community malleefowl groups.

2) Support and monitor the WAMN, coordinate and provide executive support to quarterly WAMN meetings.

3) Facilitate support and capacity building activities to malleefowl community groups through the WAMN.

4) Facilitate a collaborative approach to malleefowl conservation in Western Australia through developing joint initiatives to aid in implementing the National Recovery Plan.

5) Represent Western Australia on the National Recovery Team.

6) Assist in the coordination of a state-wide community monitoring programme at key sites and ensure that the results are communicated to the National Recovery Team.

7) Promote the work of community groups and assist in expanding and consolidating community initiatives.

8) Encourage cooperation and communicate information to all groups in the Network to ensure the information is consistent.

9) Increase networks and education delivery in regional areas to further promote community stewardship of malleefowl and to promote a broad conservation agenda relevant to rural communities such as remnant vegetation protection and feral animal control programmes.

10) Develop a ‘State Action Plan for Malleefowl’ to assist community groups, agencies and scientists seeking opportunities for its implementation.

Solution

This project will include analysis of past and current data sets to identify malleefowl population hotspots and establish a statewide monitoring programme to assess the future trends and status of malleefowl populations in Southwest Australia. This project and its outcomes will be communicated effectively to all NRM regions and the National Recovery Team for uptake and consideration.

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