Graziers ‘back night parrot conservation’

14-Dec-2016

The elusive night parrot. Photo: Dr Steve Murphy

The elusive night parrot. Photo: Dr Steve Murphy


The future conservation of a species of nocturnal parrot thought to be extinct until 2013 has the support of western Queensland’s grazing community, according to a recent survey.

The survey assessed the attitudes of owners or managers of properties that potentially supported populations of the night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) and to understand whether they would be sympathetic to the species’ conservation.

Charles Darwin University Professor Stephen Garnett led the project, which found a high level of support for conservation, especially if it did not unduly disrupt grazing management practices and there was compensation in the event that property management needed to change.

“Currently the social environment of the night parrot in western Queensland is largely supportive,” Professor Garnett said. “While some graziers were indifferent, none was openly antagonistic to parrot conservation that might involve their property.”

The small parrot is endemic to Australia and was re-discovered living on land leased from the Queensland Government for grazing by cattle or sheep.

“The results suggest that collaborative management with local graziers could contribute substantially to conservation of the night parrot in the region and any fears that graziers might be antagonistic to night parrot conservation were ill-founded,” he said.

Professor Garnett said the research provided a basis for discussions with graziers about a range of potential conservation arrangements for the species.

“This included trying to limit burning and not overgrazing habitat in which the parrot might occur,” he said.

“It also included the potential for stopping wild dog baiting, which is conducted to reduce calf losses, although concern about wild dogs is deeply entrenched among graziers.”

The collaborative research paper by Professor Garnett and the Night Parrot Recovery Team, including world expert on night parrots and CDU research fellow Dr Steve Murphy, titled “Social landscape of the night parrot in western Queensland, Australia” was published recently in “Pacific Conservation Biology.” To read further visit W: publish.csiro.au/journals/pcb