Please see below a message from the Central Land Council with regards to the
Princess Parrot west of Kings Canyon.
Princess Parrot Trips Wrap-up
A total of 24 birdwatchers took up the invitation by traditional owner Douglas
Multa to visit the princess parrot breeding site in Central Australia during
the past few weeks. Four one-day trips were undertaken to the site under the
guidance of traditional owners and with logistical support from the Central
Land Council (CLC).
The feedback received from those birders who took part was very positive; they
were all delighted not just with seeing the parrots but with the entire
experience as the following email from one of them clearly shows:
It was not just the spectacle of seeing the near mythical Princess Parrot,
but rather the entire experience of
being privileged to spend time in a remote and private place in an amazing
season. Douglas and his family
made us feel so welcome and we all especially enjoyed sitting down and
sharing billy tea with him whilst
listening to his wealth of information about his land. Unfortunately in this
day we simply do not ever get that
cross cultural chance - and it was memorable.
For the CLC staff involved it was both gratifying and a great relief to see
birders and traditional owners interacting in such a positive way. Although our
solution did not suit everyone, we are never the less pleased that something
positive was able to be salvaged from what had become a difficult situation.
Unfortunately some high profile members of the birding community chose not to
wait for this invitation and travelled to the breeding site even when they knew
this to be illegal. This behaviour, which included resorting to subterfuge, has
caused anxiety for Aboriginal custodians and land managers alike, all of whom
have the welfare of the country and these rare birds at heart.
Despite the disrespectful behaviour of a small number of people, the princess
parrot experience has been a positive one in that we have learnt a lot. We hope
that the birding community has learnt as well and that birders now appreciate
the role of the CLC and the need for permits when entering Aboriginal land.
While I’m sure discussion on these topics will continue from time to time, it
should at least now be better informed.
Finally, Douglas and Kathleen Multa have made clear their enthusiasm for this
type of activity on their land. They enjoyed meeting birders and sharing
knowledge with them and now plan to do something similar next year. Whether
this is achievable is yet to be seen, but in an area where employment
opportunities are almost as scarce as night parrots, it’s got to be worth a
try. Of course, they won’t be relying on the princess parrot to reappear on
cue, but there are other species of interest to birders there, as well as
Indigenous culture and spectacular rock art sites, waterholes and some of the
best scenery in the country.
Thank you to those birders who showed restraint earlier in the year, and to
those who have assisted us in this endeavour.
Central Land Council
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