Malleefowl real-estate expands one fence at a time

In a multi-staged project Burakin farmer Mal Sutherland has protected more than 110 hectares of remnant vegetation on his property, ‘Rocky View’.

Two of these important pieces of bush adjoin directly to reserves which are home to the threatened and iconic Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata).  The other follows the culturally significant, historic rabbit-proof-fence, and is a corridor for wildlife to move between islands of remnant vegetation.

While most of the newly protected area is still covered with high quality vegetation, parts have been impacted by fire and have been slow to recover while being grazed by sheep. Fencing to keep out sheep will be the first important step to the recovery of these areas.

Mr Sutherland plans to continue the conservation works in the degraded area within the project site by planting a mix of native trees and shrubs. “Hopefully putting a few jams, and other species in will kick start the regeneration process in that more degraded shallow soil.”

Mal places a strong value on natural areas on his property saying, ‘There are less and less of these left to be enjoyed and explored. I can’t believe that clearing is still needlessly going on. My goal is to protect all the areas of remnant vegetation on my property.’

“We’ve already rehabilitated almost all the areas on the property which need it by planting many trees and shrubs. Now we just have a few areas of bush that still need fencing.”

Mal looks forward to working with NACC in the future to keep up is conservation work.

NACC’s Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore says ‘At NACC we recognise that farmers are important partners in protecting our threatened species.

And we believe that community conservation of Australia’s native flora and fauna cannot be underestimated.’

For more information about this project, please visit NACC’s Habitat Fencing Incentive project webpage, or contact your local NACC NRM Officer.

 The project was proudly supported by Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Malleefowl lays its eggs in a nest formed in a crater in a mound of leaf litter and soil raked in from the surrounding area with the birds’ feet. As the organic matter rots down, it generates heat which incubates the eggs, and the parents scrape material onto or off the mound to open or close the mound to regulate its temperature; the male checks the temperature of the mound by probing it with his bill. When they hatch, the chicks can leave the mound unaided.

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