Dambimangari partnership to protect 800,000 hectares of the coastal Kimberley

Dambimangari partnership to protect 800,000 hectares of the coastal Kimberley

December 2017:

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation (DAC) have entered into a groundbreaking partnership to deliver land management and science across 800,000 hectares of Dambimangari land adjacent to the Kimberley coast, an area of international significance for conservation.

The partnership - the first of its kind in Australia - will help protect a suite of threatened and culturally significant species while generating important socio-economic benefits for Dambimangari traditional owners. See the reports today in The West Australian and Channel 7 News.

Dambimangari country satellite

The Dambimangari people are the traditional owners of more than 1.6 million hectares of land along the Kimberley coast together with the adjacent coastal waters and islands

Extending from just south of Yampi to just north of the Prince Regent River, Dambimangari country includes some of the highest priority land for conservation in Australia. In particular, it includes a large proportion of the only area on the continent to have suffered no animal extinctions since European settlement. It is a stronghold for threatened and endemic wildlife including mammals such as the Golden-backed Tree-rat, Nabarlek, Monjon, Golden Bandicoot, Brush-tailed Rabbit-Rat and Northern Quoll and birds such as the Gouldian Finch, Kimberley Honeyeater, Black Grasswren, Red Goshawk and Purple-crowned Fairy-wren.

Artesian Golden-backed Tree-rat

Dambimangari country protects am important population of the Golden-backed Tree-rat

A feature of Dambimangari country is the spectacular coastline ranging from dramatic sandstone cliffs that plunge into the ocean to low sandy beaches that host important sea turtle populations. Pristine creeks and rivers, freshwater wetlands and rolling savanna woodlands interrupted by rainforest patches provide a diverse mix of habitats. It is a landscape of immense cultural significance to Dambimangari, who have lived here for thousands of years.

WATCH: Video showcasing the spectacular coastal landscape of Dambimangari country

Horizontal Falls Western Australia

Horizontal Falls lies within the Dambimangari partnership area

The partnership will involve AWC field staff and Dambimangari Rangers working hand-in-hand to deliver land management operations including fire management, feral animal control and weed control. A substantial science program will involve searching in one of Australia's most remote locations for some of the last remaining populations of species such as the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat, the Kimberley Brush-tailed Phascogale and the Nabarlek.

AWC and Dambimangari Rangers

Dambimangari Rangers Edmund Jungine and Jordan Barunga with AWC Kimberley Operations Manager Toby Barton, Vice Chair of the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation Warrenja Barunga and Indigenous Protected Areas Manager James Mansfield

The partnership is the first of its kind between a non-government conservation organisation and an indigenous community. It is distinguished by the fact it will generate income for DAC, as well as other socio-economic benefits, while delivering measurable conservation outcomes.

  • AWC will pay an annual fee to DAC, recognising that Dambimangari traditional owners are choosing to manage their land in a way that protects conservation values that are important to all Australians. The project will also generate carbon income for DAC from savanna burning.
  • Implementation of the agreement will involve on-the-job training designed to help build the capacity and expertise of Dambimangari Rangers. In turn, AWC staff will learn from Dambimangari Rangers about traditional knowledge.
  • AWC will participate in community engagement and education programs and will develop a scholarship program for Dambimangari students.

AWC and DAC will work together to develop culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable business opportunities.

AWC and Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation

Vice Chair of the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation Warrenja Barunga and AWC Kimberley Operations Manager Toby Barton on a small stretch of the sprawling coastline of Dambimangari country, where the two organisations will work together to protect native species

We need your help to deliver this innovative partnership

The Dambimangari - AWC partnership is vitally important:

  • It will help protect a vast landscape (800,000 ha) which is a hotspot for threatened wildlife.
  • It will define a new business model which generates income for traditional owners, as well as delivering broader socio-economic benefits through training and education.

It will cost AWC approximately $1/ha per year to implement this partnership. Please consider a tax deductible donation to AWC in support of the Dambimangari partnership - click here to help protect one of Australia's great natural areas.