Innovative tracking of critically endangered black cockatoos

September 8, 2017

Critically endangered: Black cockatoos take flight (Picture: Sam Rycken)

Flocks of critically endangered Baudin's cockatoos are being tracked across Western Australia by Murdoch University’s researchers using an innovative double-tag system.

Murdoch University is collaborating with WWF-Australia, Parks and Wildlife, Perth Zoo, Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre and the University of Amsterdam, to track the birds following staged releases throughout the Perth metropolitan area and South West region.

The tracking of the rehabilitated birds is part of a larger research project on the ecology of black cockatoo species.

Associate Professor Kris Warren said the data obtained from GPS and satellite trackers would help researchers determine the activities and movements of the tracked birds and the flocks of wild cockatoos which they joined, which will inform future conservation initiatives.

“We are obtaining a large amount of movement data, which will enable us to better understand habitat-use at fine-scale and landscape level,” Professor Warren said.

“It’s estimated as few as 10,000 Baudin’s cockatoos remain in the wild, so it’s vital we work to protect the birds and their habitat.” Amongst the rehabilitated birds released back to the wild was a young bird aptly named ‘Lucky’. Lucky was rescued after being illegally shot out of the sky. He was brought to Perth Zoo to be treated for his life-threatening wounds. He then entered a specialised black cockatoo rehabilitation programme at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre in the Perth Hills, until he was ready to be released.

Lucky flies free!

Are you feeling lucky? This young bird sure is! Earlier this year we were proud to be part of the amazing rehabilitation and release of Lucky the Baudin's black cockatoo. Learn more about the amazing efforts to save him here: http://wwfau.org/2vRCkWS

Posted by WWF Australia on Thursday, 10 August 2017

WWF-Australia Project Officer, Rebecca Boyland, said it was inspiring to see the endangered birds take flight back into the wild. “The GPS and satellite trackers will help the researchers at Murdoch University know where the birds are travelling throughout the landscape, and how they use the habitat for feeding and roosting,” she said.

Baudin’s cockatoo is one of only two species of white-tailed black cockatoo in the world, the other being the Carnaby’s cockatoo. WWF is helping to secure the future of this species by supporting this key research by Murdoch University, and working with the community and partners to prevent the illegal shooting of this species.

If you have found an injured/debilitated black cockatoo in the South West of Western Australia please call Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre (08) 93902288.

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