25 July 2022

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water

The Hon Reece Whitby MP, WA Minister for Environment 

Support for WA's rarest bird

Researchers and volunteers have successfully relocated 7 of Australia’s rarest birds as part of a threatened species partnership between the Western Australian and Australian governments, non-government organisations and community volunteers.

The Western Ground Parrots were translocated to a remote site east of Albany in Western Australia to support the establishment of an additional population in the second year of the program with 7 birds released this year joining 7 released in autumn 2021.

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek and Western Australian Minister for Environment Reece Whitby announced the ongoing success of the program which is safeguarding the critically endangered species from threats such as bushfires and feral cats and foxes.

“The just-released State of the Environment report tells us that we must take action to protect our critically endangered species – this program is just one of many doing that,” Minister Plibersek said.

“With fewer than 150 Western Ground Parrots left in the wild, establishing a second population through wild-to-wild translocations could prove essential in saving this species from extinction.

“Since 2012, Western Ground Parrots have only been found in a single location, but with important conservation actions like translocation we are helping the species to recover.”

Minister Whitby thanked stakeholders and volunteers for their role in the program and said it was wonderful to see this important work continuing.

“This translocation wouldn’t be possible without the successful partnership between dedicated volunteers, state and federal government agencies and not-for-profit organisations working in unison for a positive outcome for the species,” Minister Whitby said. 

“Working to protect threatened species like the Western Ground Parrot is essential in preserving our state’s wonderful and unique biodiversity.” 

Ongoing monitoring of parrots released to the new location last year has recorded calling birds, providing evidence that they are persisting in their new home and providing promising signs in establishing a new population of the species. 

More recent monitoring of the source population in Cape Arid National Park and Nuytsland Nature Reserve has found good numbers of calling birds, suggesting that the intensive feral predator management over the past decade has been successful and allowing for small numbers of birds to be removed for the translocation. 

Feral predator removal and fire management has also been carried out at the new home of the birds to ensure they have the best chances of survival. They were also fitted with radio transmitters to assist with monitoring survival and to understand how they use their new habitat. 

The Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Fiona Fraser visited Cape Arid recently to meet with recovery staff and volunteers and participate in monitoring and translocation preparations.

The Western Ground Parrot is one of 100 species prioritised for recovery by the Australian Government.  Recovery actions for this flagship species will also benefit other threatened species such as the Western Bristlebird and the Noisy Scrub-bird.

The monitoring, site management and capture of the birds was led by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and included veterinary and animal husbandry support from Perth Zoo to ensure the welfare of the translocated birds. 

Staff from BirdLife Australia as well as skilled volunteers have also assisted with the translocation, with the support of Friends of the Western Ground Parrot and South Coast Natural Resource Management.