Ngoolarks, or Carnaby’s cockatoos, have connected Noongar families for thousands of years, but with development pressures we are in danger of losing them forever.
Landcare SJ is proud to partner with Murdoch University, with support from Lotterywest, to launch Keep Carnaby’s Flying – Ngoolarks Forever, a community empowerment program that will see researchers, Aboriginal organisations, other local governments, and conservation groups take action together to protect and preserve the endangered birds.
In conjunction with Murdoch’s Harry Butler Institute and Ngank Yira Institute for Change, the project has also partnered with the Winjan Bindjareb Boodja Rangers, BirdLife Australia, Perth NRM, South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL), Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Urban Bushland Council of WA, Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, and Curtin University’s Trace and Environmental DNA Laboratory.
The project is also collaborating with Perth Zoo and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and the Town of Victoria Park.
By developing Conservation Action Plans with four local governments each year, the Keep Carnaby’s Flying – Ngoolarks Forever project will deliver a range of on-ground activities including revegetation, protection of foraging habitat, roosts and vegetation corridors, and the installation of water drinking stations.
Landcare SJ has been dedicated to the conservation of Black Cockatoos Since 2005 and sees the Keep Carnabys Flying Program as an exciting way to contribute to support the population of these birds.
Working with four local governments each year, the project will support community-led on-ground activities including revegetation of black cockatoo habitat and installation of water drinking stations, while developing Black Cockatoo Conservation Action Plans for councils to safeguard flocks in the long term.

The first four councils to engage in the project are the City of Cockburn, City of Melville, City of Wanneroo, and Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale.
Project lead Professor Kris Warren from Murdoch’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Harry Butler Institute said the aim was to provide simple, effective ways for communities to support the survival of the birds, which are in danger of extinction within decades.
“A major threat to Ngoolarks is the clearing of their foraging habitat, including in the Perth-Peel region,” Professor Warren said.
“Without more food, we are watching them slip into extinction”.
One of the project’s activities involves installing signs at native plant nurseries around Perth, to encourage gardeners to plant cockatoo-friendly native plant species such as Banksia, Hakea, and Marri, and non-local but high-energy macadamia trees, which can provide food for Ngoolarks in the short-term as native plants establish.
Nursery staff will also provide advice to gardeners, and the project’s website has detailed information about what to plant, and what else people can do to help keep Perth’s Carnaby’s cockatoos flying.
Renowned botanist and Lotterywest board member Professor Kingsley Dixon said Carnaby’s cockatoos are now so desperate for food they are eating themselves out of house and home.
“We need to revegetate with native species, but also provide fast-growing food that has a high calorific and nutritional value like macadamias or almonds as they are a quick maturing and useful early summer food source,” he said.
The project’s Cultural Engagement lead Barb Hostalek said Australian First Nations people have a deep respect and understanding for the complex interrelationships between land, sky, and water, and the preservation of all life.
“Noongar people have watched the movement of the birds with the changing seasons, for generations their unmistakable call signalling the onset of rain on Noongar boodjar,” she said.
Professor Warren said connection with Noongar Elders and Traditional Custodians was vital to the success of the project.
“Holistic community action can help save Perth’s black cockatoos, by working together we can make a tangible difference,” she said.

a group of adult activists

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