Hope for an endangered species is found in a remote National Park

Hope for an endangered species is found on a remote National Park

An aerial view of Staaten River National Park in the early dry season

Northern Gulf Resource Management Group recently collaborated with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to survey the southern population of the endangered Golden-shouldered parrot in Staaten River National Park, west of Chillagoe.

The objective of the survey was to gather information on the size of the population and to identify threats to this endangered bird. We also set up motion-sensing cameras on nesting activity to better understand the main threats to the birds during this vulnerable time.

The team spent a week navigating their way through the remote National Park using side-by-side vehicles, surveying for Golden-shouldered parrots. The surveys involved searching for their nests along with sighting adult birds. Golden-shouldered parrots nest in termite mounds, with nests appearing as a golf ball-sized hole in the side of a mound. The small entry hole leads to a large nesting chamber within the mound, where the adult birds incubate the eggs and raise up to six chicks during the breeding season (March – June).

Side-by-side vehicles used to conduct surveys

During the week-long survey, we searched an area of more than 2,500 ha, sighting a total of 69 Golden-shouldered parrots and observing 48 nests from the current breeding season. This data will be used to estimate the population size and compare collected data with previous surveys undertaken by QPWS over the last 15 years to see how the population is tracking.

A motion-sensing camera monitors an active Golden-shouldered
parrot nest

Encouragingly, the habitat appeared to be in very good condition with very few feral animals or weeds observed during the surveys. QPWS rangers actively manage Staaten River NP by implementing an annual planned burn program and conducting an annual dedicated pest animal program controlling pig and horse numbers in remote and inaccessible terrain where the Golden-shouldered parrot habitat sits within the landscape

A male Golden-shouldered parrot roosting during the day. Credit: Doug Davidson (QPWS)

This project is supported by Northern Gulf Resource Management Group, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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