NICOLA KALMAR, Broome Advertiser
Updated January 27, 2012, 7:59 am
Sarah Pryke ©
Hopes of rescuing one of Australia’s most endangered birds from the brink of extinction have been restored after the discovery of a breeding population of the rare Gouldian finch near Broome.
The discovery was made by indigenous Bardi Jawi and Bard Jawi Oorany rangers working with WWF Australia and Environs Kimberley on the Dampier Peninsula.
Environmental groups have welcomed the find and said there could be more findings of Gouldian finch in the Kimberley.
Bardi Jawi senior cultural ranger Kevin George said the find was “very exciting” for the rangers and the community, and said the first sighting of the finch was before Christmas.
There are believed to be fewer than 2500 adult birds surviving in the wild, as the population has declined steadily over the past 50 years.
Scientists have attributed fire regimes, cattle and throat parasites to decreasing numbers.
Mr George said the next step would be to implement a management plan to protect the species and continuing to work with elders and the community.
An important part in securing the future of the Gouldian finch was educating the younger generation in caring for wildlife and conservation, Mr George said.
Environs Kimberley projects co-ordinator Louise Beames described the finding as “exciting and significant”.She said the birds had declined rapidly over much of orthern Australia due to a combination cattle and intensive fire regimes. Ms Beames said it was critical to continue to work with Bardi Jawi and Nyul Nyul rangers.