Pilot program for rare cockatoo

A PROJECT developed to help protect the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is the first in a series of eco tourism projects developed to allow tourists to be actively involved in the conservation of WA’s unique fauna and flora.

On the Trail of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo invites people walking the Bibbulmun Track to report sightings of the birds on a report card, which is then collated by researchers at the WA Museum and the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

This pilot ‘touch’ program is the first of three projects developed as part of Partnership 21, a five-year strategy for tourism development in WA devised by the WATC in partnership with industry.

WA Museum curator of birds Ron Johnstone said the museum had been studying the endangered Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo for about three years, but there were still gaps in their understanding of the birds’ distribution.

“A lot of people come to look at our birds from overseas … the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is a very big noisy bird but we still know very little about the breed’s biology. If people pick up the observation card and tick it we know where the birds occur,” he said.

The WATC will launch another two touch projects later this year in popular tourist towns of Kalgoorlie and Albany.

“Our research has shown tourists want to be closer to nature. The touch packages offer visitors contact and involvement with the environment not available anywhere else,” WATC acting chief executive Richard Muirhead said.

“Through the concept of the touch packages, visitors to Western Australia are invited to be ‘touched by nature’ – in an emotive sense,” he said.

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