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Malleefowl 'safe haven' now a reality

A feral proof fence spanning four kilometres and encapsulating 55 hectares north of Griffith will one day be a safe haven for the threatened Malleefowl.

Land Services Officer David Kellett said the fence was erected around prime habitat and all pests within it would be eradicated over the next six months.

“There’s no doubt feral animals have contributed significantly to the decline of Malleefowl with foxes caught on camera stealing their eggs and feral pigs and wild goats trampling mounds,” Mr Kellett said.

Landholder David Heath is passionate about Malleefowl conservation, as were his grandparents.

“My grandparents had the foresight to protect these blocks of Mallee from clearing and overgrazing by stock and I’m excited to be a part of this project and look forward to the reintroduction of Malleefowl,” Mr Heath said.

Neighbouring landholder Rodney Guest remembers exploring Mallee reserves as a young boy in search of Malleefowl nests – an interest he’s still pursuing at almost 60.

On his 2200 hectare property north of Griffith, Mr Guest is one of ten landholders working with Riverina Local Land Services to curb feral animal predation to give Malleefowl a chance at reviving in their native habitat.

“Malleefowl died out in the 1980’s in these reserves, allegedly shot by someone wanting to remember what they tasted like,” Mr Guest recalled.

“They still exist within local ranges but with pressure from feral animals – mainly pigs – they may become locally extinct.”

“We have prime habitat on these reserves. The only thing missing are the birds, so it’s very exciting to think that reintroducing them could be a reality. We hope we can establish a stable safe breeding colony that may also encourage other farmers to preserve habitat on their properties.”

This project is supported by Riverina Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Media contact: Simone Norrie – Riverina Local Land Services – 0419 648 813