The Nature Conservancy (Australia) welcomed the Western Australian Government’s new Kimberley Conservation and Science Strategy released today, saying that the initial $60 million investment in realising the strategy was an important step in the right direction.
Dr Michael Looker, the Conservancy’s Australia Program Director, said the Kimberley strategy came at a critical time with increasing demands being placed on one of the world’s last great natural areas.
“The need for investment in protecting and conserving the Kimberley’s natural assets is paramount as the region is increasingly under pressure from a range of other interests.”
The strategy includes five major initiatives which are establishing four new marine parks along the Kimberley coast; introducing a major conservation reserve corridor linking Prince Regent and Drysdale River national parks; initiating a new landscape conservation approach to control fire, feral animals and weeds; investing in a marine science program and training and employing Aboriginal rangers.
The Nature Conservancy is itself involved in a number of large-scale conservation initiatives in Kimberley, including assisting the development of Indigenous Protected Areas, planning for improved fire management and creation of new private protected areas.
“Combining science and Indigenous ecological knowledge as part of this conservation strategy is important for ensuring the Kimberley’s land and sea environments will be well-protected into the future. This approach complements our own work in the region,” said Dr Looker.
He emphasised that the Western Australian Government would need to ensure that Traditional Owners were involved in all stages of the implementation of the strategy if it was to succeed.
"Genuine and well-funded engagement and consultation with Indigenous communities is essential for the strategy to succeed.”
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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