Nature conservation on agricultural land: a case study of the endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris breeding at Koobabbie in the northern wheatbelt of Western Australia
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Nature conservation and agricultural production may be considered as conflicting objectives, but for awheat and sheep property in Western Australia they have been pivotal management objectives for thelast 48 years. Koobabbie, a 7,173 ha property, has retained 41.5% of the original native vegetation, andis a designated Important Bird Area by BirdLife Australia, while still being an economically profitableagricultural enterprise. Since 1987 the owners of Koobabbie have kept detailed records of the avifaunaof the property, and encouraged staff from government, non-government and academic organisations toconduct research and monitoring of the endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris breeding on their property. In addition, they have instituted control programs for two over-abundant cockatoo species which compete with Carnaby’s Cockatoo for nest sites, and for Feral Cats that are predators of nesting female Carnaby’s Cockatoo and their offspring. This paper presents the results of research and monitoring from 2003-2013, during which seven artificial nesting hollows were erected, and former active nest hollows that had become derelict were repaired. By 2008, the number of breeding pairs on the property was at least 27, but two mass deaths of breeding females in 2009 and 2012 reduced the number of breeding pairs by 80%. This study illustrates the importance of monitoring conservation on private property, and raises a number of issues in relation to management of endangered species dependent on large hollow-bearing trees on private property.
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