Local concern for the decline of the Gnowangerup Shire fauna emblem, the “gnow” (an Aboriginal name for Malleefowl in the region) led to the formation of the Malleefowl Preservation Group in August 1992. Since then, the MPG has been active in raising public awareness about this unique bird, conducting surveys and monitoring Malleefowl populations, and doing “hands-on” conservation work with landowners and like-minded groups.
The Malleefowl Preservation Group was originally based in Ongerup, a small farming township about 400 km south east of Perth, Western Australia. The farming landscape in the region today is very different from the bushland which dominated the area prior to the wide scale clearing for agriculture (cereal grain and sheep). The resulting catastrophic decline of the Malleefowl in the wheatbelt of WA mirrored that of many other species.
In more arid pastoral areas of the state, figures are sketchy but Malleefowl decline there is likely linked to less obvious, inter-linked changes indirectly caused by people through over-grazing by introduced animals; competition with and predation by feral animals; habitat changes due to invasive weeds: declining winter rainfall critical to nesting and bigger, hotter fires.
After 22 years in the bush, the Malleefowl Preservation Group headquarters is located in Fremantle where we can better connect with people who make decisions about the bush – be they government agencies, corporations or voters.
We employ three key attributes of the Malleefowl to advance conservation activities across Western Australia:
- As an iconic species, its unique lifestyle resonates with people; knowing about the Malleefowl inspires admiration and affection which can benefit the bush.
- As an umbrella species, actions to protect the Malleefowl will also protect other species and communities in the bush.
- As an indicator species, the presence of Malleefowl on land within its range is a marker of healthy habitat.
As is the case globally, the health of the environment in Western Australia is of critical importance to a flourishing human society. Absent a healthy environment, human societies will suffer decreasing quality of life and may experience social-ecological system tipping points beyond which conditions supporting human habitation of the planet become marginal or even untenable.
The Malleefowl, protected by state and federal legislation, is both an indicator species of ecosystem health and an iconic species which can rally people to support conservation and sustainability, in aid of a healthy environment and a flourishing human society.
Largely through the lens of the Malleefowl, the MPG will conduct its business, aimed at these objectives.
1. to promote and to undertake practical work in the conservation of nature in Western Australia, including the Malleefowl and its habitat.
2. to develop understanding of the Malleefowl and other native species and the social-ecological systems in which they live.
3. to engage individuals, communities and groups in thinking, planning and acting in support of the conservation of the Malleefowl and other native species in the context of sustainable development in Western Australia.
4. to apply, as a learning organisation, the principles of adaptive management to the practice and evolution of natural resource management in Western Australia.
5. to work in effective collaboration with government agencies, corporations, groups and individuals towards these objectives.
6. to work in aid of these objectives nationally.
The Malleefowl Preservation Group operates on a volunteer basis with a small paid staff. The Board comprises:
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Office: 19 Blinco Street, Fremantle, WA 6160
Postal: PO Box 782, Fremantle 6959
Phone: (08) 9467 9613