Cape Arid survey for Western Ground Parrot

Photo: Alan Danks.
Photo: Alan Danks.

The state's Department of Biodiversity have recruited volunteers to help survey Cape Arid National Park for the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot following a series of bushfires in the region.

The survey will take place from March 25 until March 29, with six volunteers set to help the department service automated recording units which were deployed last November.

Related stories:

The National Park has been the site of several fires in the last few months, beginning with a fire that burnt through 15,500 hectares in the north-eastern portion between December 27 and mid January fire.

According to the department's regional ecologist Sarah Comer, the January bushfire burnt through one of five areas of core habitat that was being monitored.

"We’ve had these [automated recording units] out over summer following the capture work last year, but autumn is the period that we monitor the population so we service at the beginning of this period," she said.

"The volunteers will also be doing listening surveys in one of the four core areas of unburnt habitat while they are camping out with the field team.

"The listening surveys involve being out in the field in the hour before sunrise, and the hour after sunset and listening for and recording the number of ground parrot calls that are heard."

With less than 150 birds remaining in the wild, existing only in Cape Arid National Park and the adjacent Nuystland Nature Reserve, Mrs Comer said the department would continue to provide protection and monitor the population.

"Population monitoring is conducted in autumn, between March and May, but we have been surveying potential areas across the park using automated recording units constantly over the past 12 months and looking for other areas where there may be birds," she said.

"We are continuing to provide a significant amount of protection through management of introduced predators, including foxes and feral cats, which is supported by Western Shield and South Coast NRM.

"We hope that the research into husbandry and breeding biology being conducted in the Zoo’s captive program will lead to a successful breeding program for release into the wild in the longer term future."