The stories and case studies in this report showcase some of the many proud achievements of the Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) programmes from 2015 to 2017.
This report contains stories about ‘caring for Country’ and ‘keeping culture strong’ that are important for Indigenous communities, their partners, and all Australians to hear. There are stories about the social and economic benefits of these programmes and how they are helping to strengthen communities and ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous disadvantage, especially for remote Indigenous communities.
Some of the stories in this report are about ranger groups building their capacity to manage Country and to secure fee-for-service contracts, building partnerships with organisations to increase employment opportunities, about working with disengaged youth, and ranger groups embracing new technologies. At the end of the report we highlight some government initiatives opening up more opportunities for Indigenous rangers and IPAs.
- For thousands of years, Indigenous Australians used fires across the landscape to clear paths, hunt animals, and create new plant growth. More recently, fire has been used to reduce carbon emissions and generate revenue. Kiwirrkurra Traditional Owners continue to conduct extensive patch-burning on the Kiwirrkurra IPA. The burning promotes growth of a key food plant for the bilby, which has continued to survive at numerous sites within Kiwirrkurra. Firescar mapping has revealed the use of traditional burning in and around the IPA has resulted in fires being smaller than the fires on unmanaged country. (WA)
- Rangers are increasingly using innovative measures and cutting edge technology to help them with managing their Country. The Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers are pioneering the use of drones to monitor their Country, with the assistance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This technology is allowing rangers a view of their Country they have never seen before. Three rangers have been trained to pilot the craft, along with mapping applications. This will significantly help the rangers in managing Country, which is a challenge due to difficult terrain, as well as monitoring offshore islands and reefs. (QLD)
- Feral animals cause damage to natural ecosystems and wildlife across all states and territories. Controlling feral animals is a key activity for IPA and Indigenous ranger groups. Examples include Cane toads (Milingimbi Island, NT), rabbits and foxes (Framlingham Forest and Deer Maan IPA Rangers, VIC), and wetland fencing (Kowanyama Rangers, QLD).
- Over the past decade, rangers in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands have been working hard to save one of the most critically endangered mammals in South Australia, the warru (black-footed rock wallaby). An exciting project milestone was achieved in May 2017 when 40 warru were reintroduced in the APY Lands. Rangers fitted VHF radio collars to all reintroduced warru and have been busy monitoring their movements after the release. Remote cameras have already captured evidence of breeding with pictures of young warru out of the pouch. (SA).
- The women’s ranger team of the Thamarrurr Development Corporation have made an outstanding contribution to cleaning up their Country through an innovative recycling project. In 2016 the Thamarrurr rangers became a collection point for Container Deposit Scheme materials where community members brought recyclables in exchange for cash. Over the year 200,000 items were recycled with over $20,000 in refunds going directly to the Community.