Following on from the exciting discovery in March of more KI Thornbills and KI Scrubtits than we thought were in existence, an interdisciplinary workshop was held on King Island in early June to address their extremely critical status.
A public meeting attended by 30 people was held on the 12th June in the Ocean Dunes Hotel, providing an opportunity for interested members of the KI community to learn what we know so far, give feedback and present their ideas and concerns.
The threat to and loss of any species is of national significance and covered by the Federal EPBC Act (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act). Representatives at the workshop came from all tiers of government – federal, state and local (apologies from our over-stretched locals but they remain involved), Cradle Coast NRM, Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority, scientists from Australian National and Sydney Universities and other threatened species specialists, Tasmanian Land Conservancy and BirdLife Australia who joined local representatives from the KI NRM Group, KI Beef Group, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife (apology due to illness), BirdLife Tasmania, KI Field Nats and Birds of King Island. In all 21 people took part.
A draft Conservation Action Plan will be made available as soon as it has been completed allowing plenty of opportunities for the community and others to have direct input into the Plan.
Key messages from this workshop are:
The King Island Scrubtit and King Island Thornbill are nationally significant and they are a unique part of King Island’s biodiversity.
Populations of both birds are now less than 50 individuals each, and without intervention they are facing imminent extinction
Taking decisive action now is essential to saving these two species from extinction
Successful recovery will rely on strong partnerships between the King Island community, State and Federal Governments, NGOs and specialist scientists to address their key threats.
We urgently need to:
Complete the surveys of potential habitats to better understand both species' distribution and requirements
Update State and Federal assessment processes with improved habitat descriptions, vegetation mapping and on ground assessment methods
Increase the level of protection at Pegarah State Forest and focus management on strengthening this area as a stronghold for both species
Increase capacity to prevent and respond to fire in key habitat
Identify and protect critical areas on private land through a range of measures including incentives to maximise landholder participation
At the conclusion of the workshop a Working Group was formed that consists of community, government, scientific and NGO representatives. This is only the beginning of what will be a long process - buts its an exciting one...
Threatened Species (TS) Recovery Workshop Attendees:
L to R. Back row: Kate Ravich (BOKI, KINRMG), Carolyn Hogg (Sydney University, Geneticist) Stephen Florence (TS Advisor to Federal Government), Matthew Web (Australian National University, TS ecologist), Rod Graham (Chair, KI Beef Group), Graham Batey (KI Field Nats, KINRMG) Luke Diddams (DPIPWE)
Middle Row: Janelle Thomas (BirdLife Australia) Margaret Bennett (BirdLife Tasmania, KINRMG), Anna Wind (CCNRM), Margaret Batey (KI Field Nats, KINRMG), Sally Bryant (Tasmanian Land Conservancy), Jenny Lau (BirdLife Australia)
Front Row: Fiona Hume (TS ornithologist, farmer and communicator), Robbie Gaffrey (DPIPWE) Alan Wiltshire (TS ornithologist), Helen Strickland (Chair, KINRMG), Pip Walsh (Facilitator)
Missing due to early departure: Peter Volker (FPA), Kirsty Kay (FPA)
Mark Holdsworth (Forest Hill Wildlife – TS Consultant.)
Apologies: Julie Arnold (KI Mayor) Shelley Graham (Tas PWS), Andrew Crane (DPIPWE)
Note: FPA representatives were participatory but not a signatory to the Key Messages
A recorded call for the King Island Thornbill will be uploaded to the website as soon as we have a compatible file.