The Nature Conservancy today helped announce the declaration of the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area, Australia’s largest land conservation area.
Speaking from Sangsters Bore in the Northern Territory, Peter Taylor—external affairs director for The Nature Conservancy in Australia—said the declaration is a dream made reality for the Warlpiri people and his organisation.
"The Nature Conservancy is pleased to contribute $500,000 toward supporting the management of this area and the Warlpiri rangers,” Mr Taylor said.
“We are happy to join with the Warlpiri, the Central Land Council, and the Federal Government as this Indigenous Protected Area becomes a reality.”
Mr Taylor said that today’s announcement was a celebration of the Warlpiri people's connection with country.
“We’re looking forward to assisting the Warlpiri people in protecting their country and helping to create a sustainable economic future for local Indigenous people around conservation and land management,” he said.
Mr Taylor added that Southern Tanami would create conservation benefits for all Australians, as well as have an impact on the health and wellbeing of local Indigenous communities.
Stretching across more than 10 million hectares, Southern Tanami is 30% larger than Tasmania. It includes two internationally important sites for conservation: the southwest Tanami Desert and Lake Mackay. The ancient land contains habitat critical to the survival of many of Australia’s threatened species, including the bilby, mulgara, and great desert skink. Southern Tanami also includes important wetlands, breeding sites for waterbirds, and rare and threatened plants.
“In this IPA, Warlpiri rangers will combine science with Indigenous ecological knowledge to deliver new solutions to challenges around issues such as fire management, feral animals, and weed control,” Mr Taylor said.
“But it will also ensure that Indigenous knowledge and culture is kept alive and that areas of high conservation significance are protected against new threats.”
The Indigenous Protected Area program allows Indigenous people to conserve and manage their lands through the National Reserve System, Australia’s network of protected areas.
The Nature Conservancy has long been a strong supporter of the IPA program and for greater recognition of Indigenous people’s efforts to protect environmental and cultural heritage values.
Mr Taylor said the Indigenous Protected Area initiative was one of Australia's most successful conservation stories, protecting biodiversity while providing training and employment for Indigenous people doing work on their own country.
“The Nature Conservancy works with Indigenous people across the world, and we know that Australia’s IPA system is at the forefront of global efforts to empower Indigenous groups to manage traditionally held lands.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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