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Crowdfunded trees planted for cockatoo food

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Following the Carnaby’s Cockatoo Action Group’s crowd-funding campaign last year, volunteers have been planting 10,000 native trees this winter in the cleared Gnangara pine plantation.

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The ReveGnangara initiative aims to supplement the food gap for endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos resulting from clearing of the pine plantation, which the birds have relied on for food.

According to BirdLife Australia, 70 per cent of all Carnaby’s recorded in the Perth-Peel region during last year’s Great Cocky Count were counted in Gnangara plantation areas.

Black cockatoo project coordinator Adam Peck said many of those birds would starve without immediate action, and called on the State Government to fund revegetation work.

“The trees we’re planting (in early July) are an incredible start, but will take years to provide the food and shelter our cockies need,” he said.

“This responsibility shouldn’t rest on the community – it should be up to the government to commit funds and resources to stop the decline of these birds.”

The pine plantation has shrunk from 23,000ha to 5000ha over the past decade and could be completely removed by 2022.

With the Perth population of Carnaby’s having declined by 35 per cent over that same period, BirdLife Australia appealed to the State Government to commit funds to revegetate the area with native trees as soon as possible.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) manages ex-pine plantation areas in Gnangara, Pinjar and Yanchep and adjacent bushland to maintain groundwater recharge and for conservation and recreation.

In response to questions, the department advised that since pine harvesting started, it had replanted native species in small areas, including in partnership with BirdLife Australia and other community groups.

“DBCA looks forward to further collaboration to increase the area that can be actively planted to local native species and improve the habitat values of the State forest lands,” it said.

A spokesperson said the State Government allocated significant funding to protect conservation reserves and development proposals that could affect the endangered birds’ foraging, roosting or breeding habitats needed environmental approval.

“A significant proportion of the remaining habitat for Carnaby’s cockatoo is protected and managed as part of this conservation estate,” the spokesperson said.

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