Piccaninny Plains Sanctuary
PICCANINNY PLAINS – where the wildlife of Australia and New Guinea meet…
"To a biologist, Cape York Peninsula is one of the most exciting places on Earth. It is the product of a unique evolutionary partnership between Australia and New Guinea, a place where Cuscus and Kangaroos live side-by-side. Please support the acquisition and management of Piccaninny Plains and help provide a secure future for the unique wildlife of Cape York Peninsula."
Professor Tim Flannery
Piccaninny Plains lies in the heart of Cape York Peninsula, a region of global significance for conservation. Covering more than 170,000 hectares (420,000 acres), Piccaninny Plains is a property of stunning ecological diversity, decorated by a mosaic of rainforests, woodlands, wetlands and grasslands and protecting iconic species such as the Palm Cockatoo. Cape York has been connected to New Guinea for much of the last 250,000 years. The repeated interchange of flora and fauna has bequeathed a rich biological legacy on Cape York Peninsula. Piccaninny Plains captures a superb representation of this evolutionary blend. Its woodlands are distinctly Australian, dominated by antipodean species such as Eucalypts, Acacias and Kangaroos. In contrast, the rainforests that thread their way across the property have a strong New Guinean flavour, supporting charismatic species like the Spotted Cuscus.
The juxtaposition of Australian and New Guinean wildlife explains why Piccaninny Plains supports such a high number of species (over 400 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians plus 900 plants). In Australia, many of these animals are found only on Cape York Peninsula, like the Yellow-billed Kingfisher, the Trumpet Manucode and the Magnificent Riflebird.
Providing a critical corridor that helps link the east and west coasts of Cape York Peninsula, Piccaninny Plains contains a remarkable diversity of ecosystems:
- Magnificent gallery rainforest adorns the property. One rainforest type is found nowhere else in the world.
- The property contains the largest and most intact tropical grasslands in the high rainfall belt of northern Australia. Elsewhere, these grasslands have been destroyed by intensive grazing and cultivation.
- Two of northern Australia’s most important rivers meander across Piccaninny Plains: the Wenlock River, which boasts more fish species than any other river in Australia, and the mighty Archer River.
- A magnificent network of pristine wetlands and the vast floodplain of the Archer River are fed by rainfall of 1,600 mm (65 inches) every year, providing a haven for migratory waterbirds
Cape York and its wildlife are under threat. Feral animals, including pigs, horses and cats, are having a significant impact. Cattle grazing is affecting sensitive habitats, such as wetlands. A change in fire regimes is altering the structure and composition of grasslands and woodlands.
In the face of these threats, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has been able to secure Piccaninny Plains and will now act to protect it for future generation. Strategically located adjacent to Mungkan Kandju National Park, the conservation of Piccaninny Plains will be a vital step in providing a secure future for the wildlife of Cape York. However, we need your help to complete the acquisition and establish an active land management program. Priority actions include developing sanctuary infrastructure, removing feral animals, implementing fire management and conducting strategic field research
We need your help to protect Piccaninny Plains and its threatened wildlife.
Please make a tax deductible donation to AWC to support the conservation of Piccaninny Plains and its wildlife. At an estimated cost of $2.50 per hectare to manage Piccaninny Plains, your donation will make a real difference.
All donations of $300 or more, and each monthly pledge of $25, will be acknowledged with a special certificate commemorating your contribution to the conservation of Piccaninny Plains.