April 13, 2010

Aborigines Aim To Save The Wallaby

Australian Aborigines Tuesday declared a large area of land -- 2,240 square miles -- a conservation site to help protect the endangered black-footed rock wallaby.

The area, known as the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, would be managed by its traditional owners for conservation, said the leaders of the region.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the wallaby, or "warru", would be well protected. "The ranges in the north provide a safe haven for one of the few remaining colonies of black-footed rock wallaby, with experts estimating only about 100 of the mammals are left," Garrett told AFP.

The reserve connects to other indigenous protected areas to form an immense corridor for conservation which reaches from South Australia to Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The declaration will also provide employment for the indigenous people, said community leader and ranger Kenneth Ken. These aborigines are highly disadvantaged people with much shorter life expectancies than other Australians.

Ken added that along with the warru, the mallee fowl and great desert skink also need to be looked out for. "We are starting land management because these might be dying out and we need to teach our kids," he said.

Rangers in the South Australian conservation area will manage weed and feral animal control, fencing, maintain cultural heritage areas and survey plants, animals and threatened species.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia - Thomas Schoch