Major initiative announced to save the Bush Stone-curlew from extinction in Victoria.
Adelaide, 15 August 2019
The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species Ltd (FAME) has announced that it will back financially a major project to save the flightless Bush Stone-curlew from extinction in Victoria.
Bush Stone-curlew numbers in Victoria declined 50 per cent in just one decade and, today, the species is listed as ‘Endangered’ in that State. Predation has been the principal driver of the decline.
CEO, Mrs Tracy McNamara, says the Foundation’s Board has committed $50,000 to install predator proof enclosures at the Mt Rothwell Biodiversity and Interpretative Centre, west of Melbourne and to assist Odanata Inc, a not-for- profit, organisation to implement the project.
“This is a really worthwhile and urgent initiative to save a species which has the odds stacked against it,” Mrs McNamara said. “The Bush Stone-curlew is a flightless and nocturnal creature and, as such, is comparatively easy prey for predators such as feral foxes and dogs. Adding to its survival difficulties is the reality that just 15 per cent of nesting attempts are successful.
“Based on our previous successful involvement in helping repopulate the northern Ikara-Flinders Ranges in South Australia with the Western Quoll and Brush-tailed Possum, we know that the establishment of a safe habitat will enable a captive breeding program.
“To begin with, 10 breeding pairs will be settled into our predator proof habitat at Mt Rothwell and, as numbers grow, we hope to release Bush Stone-curlews back into the wild in Victoria. We are thrilled to be have the support of FAME on this project and cannot wait to hear the incredible cry of the Bush Stone-curlew across Victoria once more,” Casey Harris, CEO of Odonata said.
The Foundation is mounting a campaign in conjunction with Threatened Species Day – a national day held on the 7th September each year with a focus of raising awareness of the more than 1,800 native flora and fauna species classified by the Australian Government as threatened and at risk of extinction – to generate the required funds to get the project underway before the end of 2019.
“We have already generated $12,500 from our members and donors and we are confident, given the passionate commitment of our supporters, that we will raise the remaining funds within the next few weeks,” Mrs McNamara added.
Mrs Tracy McNamara
Chief Executive Officer
Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species Ltd (FAME) + 61 411 446 924
+ 61 8 8374 1744
Endangered Species: Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius
Victorian Status: Endangered
Threats: Predation by red foxes
Action to be taken: Establish a captive population for breeding and release
Project Location: Mt Rothwell, Victoria
Other species to benefit: Eastern Quoll and Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Project establishment cost: $50,000
About the Bush Stone-curlew:
The Bush Stone-curlew is a mainly nocturnal, ground-dwelling bird that hunts frogs, spiders, insects, molluscs, crustaceans, snakes, lizards and small mammals. Also known as the Bush Thick Knees, it has a distinct eerie, ghost like night-time call. During the day, Bush Stone-curlews tend to be inactive, sheltering amongst tall grass or low shrubs and relying on their plumage for camouflage. When disturbed, they freeze, often in odd postures. This response serves little purpose with animals that hunt by scent such as foxes or wild dogs.
Bush Stone-curlews at Mt Rothwell, a 473-hectare predator-free ecosystem located 50 km west of Melbourne adapted and built at a primary intensive breeding site at Mt Rothwell, which can supply the Orana Safe Haven Sanctuary with founding animals for reintroducing. Twenty enclosures will be modified to make them suitable to establish a facility that will support ten breeding pairs.
In summary, the project will;
- Acquire ten breeding pairs of Bush Stone-curlews
- Recruit and train husbandry staff and volunteers to undertake required care (water troughs/bowls, food,shelter and conduct quarterly surveys)
- Maintain and monitor the Mt Rothwell fence
- Continuing to control pests and support releases at Mt Rothwell on an ongoing basis of captive-bred BushStone-curlews
- Report back to FAME and its supportersThis project will also assist other endangered species at Mt Rothwell including the Eastern Quoll and Eastern Barred Bandicoot, through ongoing control of predators.Our Project PartnersThe non-profit organisation, Odonata Inc., will work with researchers from Australian National University and Melbourne University who will oversee the project and provide technical support. Odonata will also involve Mt Rothwell Landcare Volunteers, Wetlands and Woodlands Trust and Mulligans Flat