Dambimangari (Dam-bee-man-gad-dee) Country, home of the Worrorra People, encompasses a vast area of Land and Sea Country that stretches along the spectacular west coast of the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, from just south of Yampi Peninsula to just north of the Prince Regent River. Dambimangari Country is an area of breathtaking beauty and high conservation value, covering part of the only area on the continent to have suffered no animal extinctions since European settlement and is home to a suite of threatened and culturally significant species.
DAC and AWC have developed an innovative partnership working together to carry out conservation and land management programs across 800,000 hectares of Dambimangari Country (the Dambimangari Partnership Area). These programs support the implementation of the Dambimangari Healthy Country Plan and uphold AWC’s mission. The partnership builds on an existing relationship working together at Yampi Sound Training Area, which is also part of the traditional lands of the Dambimangari People. The partnership is the first of its kind between a non-government conservation organisation and an indigenous community – distinguished by the fact that it generates income for DAC (as well as other socio-economic benefits), provides training opportunities for Dambimangari Rangers, facilitates training opportunities and two-way learning, and all while delivering measurable conservation outcomes.
Dambimangari Partnership Area is an area of international significance for conservation. Covering 800,000 hectares, the landscape features more than 3,000 kilometres of Australia’s most spectacular coastline, 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 Worrorra People who have lived here since time immemorial.
Wildlife on the Dambimangari Partnership Area
The Kimberley region is of international conservation significance, being the only area of mainland Australia to have not suffered any known animal extinctions since European settlement. Sitting within the North Kimberley bioregion, Dambimangari Country is a stronghold for threatened and endemic wildlife. The Partnership Area is a refuge for several species of mammals that have disappeared from the rest of Northern Australia, such as Wungkarnbanja (Golden-backed Tree-rat) and Karimba (Golden Bandicoot), as well as species undergoing current widespread declines like Wijingarra (Northern Quoll).
Other Threatened species on the Dambimangari Partnership Area include the seldom-seen Black-footed Tree-rat, Yoowa (Northern Masked Owl), Barbarngurny (Western Partridge Pigeon), the brightly coloured Woorrurru (Gouldian Finch), the elusive Kimberley Brush-tailed Phascogale and Manjanj or Nabarlek, one of Australia’s smallest rock-wallaby species (weighing about a kilogram).
Dambimangari Country also supports a suite of endemic species found only in the Kimberley, such as Yilangal (Scaly-tailed Possum), Monjon (another small rock-wallaby species), Black Grasswren, Chattering Rock Frog and Western Giant Cave Gecko.
Field Programs on the Dambimangari Partnership Area
Dambimangari Rangers and AWC field staff are working together to carry out conservation and land management programs across the Dambimangari partnership Area. Activities conducted under the Partnership include biodiversity surveys, conservation of threatened and culturally important species, right-way fire, weed control and feral animal management. Together, we aim to apply management for conservation and culture, develop and implement monitoring and evaluation programs, increase the capacity and expertise of the Dambimangari Rangers, and knowledge of Dambimangari Country in a culturally appropriate way. In turn, AWC staff learn from Dambimangari Rangers and Traditional Owners about traditional land management practices and wildlife.
Fire management involves an early dry season burn program, which aims to use right-way fire to reduce the incidence and extent of large, late-season wildfires across the Dambimangari Partnership Area. This management also generates income for Dambimangari People through carbon credits. On-the-job training will help build the capacity and expertise of Dambimangari Rangers.
While the Dambimangari Partnership Area is relatively free of weeds and feral animals, they are still present in some places. We are working together to control these threats to help maintain a healthy Dambimangari Country.
The substantial science program involves inventory surveys, finding out which species occur and where across the Dambimangari Partnership Area, targeted surveys for threatened and culturally significant species and collaborative development of ongoing monitoring programs to help us understand the longer-term health of Dambimangari Country.
Across the Kimberley, the major threats to wildlife are predation by feral cats, the impacts of feral herbivores (cattle, horses, donkeys, and pigs), and intense, widespread wildfires that occur in the late dry season. In some parts of the Dambimangari Partnership Area, the extremely rugged, rocky terrain prevents incursion by cattle and other feral herbivores. The complexity of the landscape may also help moderate the impact of intense wildfires by affording protection to pockets of vegetation. The ongoing incursion of cane toads into the Kimberley presents an emerging threat to native predators like Wijingarra (Northern Quolls), Koyaya (Freshwater Crocodiles), Barndom (large goannas and snakes) – species which succumb to the toad’s toxins after ingesting them. Weeds present an issue in some areas, especially around human disturbance (e.g., coastal settlements) and along watercourses.
AWC’s Charnley River-Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary protects a vitally important population of the Golden-backed Tree-rat.
AWC protects three populations of Northern Quoll and their habitat on a number of our northern sanctuaries.
The Monjon is the smallest of the rock-wallabies and is endemic to the far northwest Kimberley region of Western Australia.