New funds for campus cockatoos and woodlands

August 15, 2012

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The Murdoch Environmental Restoration Group (MERG) in conjunction with Murdoch University has received Federal and State grants to expand conservation efforts on the Murdoch University campus.

Funding of $71,489 in total will go toward the protection of both flora and fauna, including the endangered Carnaby’s and Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

MERG Co-convenor Neil Goldsborough said the Federal Government’s Caring for Our Country – 2012–2013 Community Action Grant was specifically targeted at the protection and restoration of cockatoo habitats.

“Our conservation efforts have become increasingly important due to the loss of nearby habitats, breeding sites and food sources. We’ll use the funding to expand the three established cockatoo habitats on campus and enhance them through revegetation and other activities,” Mr Goldsborough said.

The cockatoos will also benefit from 2012 Environmental Community Grants from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), which will help prevent European House Borer infestation and expand the on-going nest tube program.

Since May 2009, Murdoch University has hosted 11 nest tubes to encourage breeding. The program has resulted in not just the first Red-tailed Black Cockatoo hatched in a nest tube, but the first to be recorded on the Swan Coastal Plain.

“We’ve had ongoing sightings of cockatoos entering the next tubes, so we’re encouraged by the potential for breeding success. Given the extent of habitat loss in the region, it’s a very positive development,” Mr Goldsborough said.

The program will double the number of nest tubes to 22 as well as fund the purchase of bat boxes for microbats, an important animal in campus insect control and pollination.

A second DEC Environmental Community Grant will help with weed control and disease management of phytophthora dieback. Treatment will target invasive weeds ‘strangling’ diverse floristic communities within the two Beeliar Regional Park areas on campus, while phytophthora control will be conducted in Murdoch’s banksia woodland to keep it ‘uninfested’.

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