Breakthrough technology saves iconic Black Cockatoos

Cockatoo Conservation

23 September 2013

Breakthrough technology saves iconic Black Cockatoos

Black Cockatoo in flight

The Wildlife Biodiversity CRC, a consortium of 40 institutions led by the University of Newcastle, is developing GPS and satellite transmitter methodologies that will enable threatened wildlife to be followed over large areas for the first time. The novel, multidisciplinary research will address dramatically declining populations of threatened Black Cockatoos.

"Black Cockatoo flocks are highly mobile and fragmented which makes determining habitat use difficult. Development of this innovative technology will enable us to measure and understand threats to the species to a significantly greater extent," said Bid Director, Professor John Rodger.

Habitat loss, illegal shooting, disease and loss of critical feeding and breeding sites are primarily responsible for species decline.

"Threatened wildlife such as Black Cockatoos often range beyond conservation reserves into urban, agricultural and industrial landscapes. This research will assist decision-making about Black Cockatoo conservation at State and Federal Government levels," said Professor Rodgers.

The study will focus on three threatened species of Black Cockatoo in the South-West of Western Australia - Carnaby's Cockatoo, Baudin's Cockatoo and Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

"Disease such as psittacine beak and feather disease virus (PBFD) and avian polyomavirus (APV) have been identified in wild black cockatoo nestlings. The significance of these diseases for Black Cockatoos urgently needs to be determined."

"We must also determine whether the existing flocks are replacing themselves - that is whether young birds are surviving or whether the flocks we see are the same birds getting older every year." 

This research falls under one of three focus areas for the Wildlife Biodiversity CRC, which brings together experts from 15 universities, 13 government agencies, 5 private industry organisations and 11 conservation or natural resource management organisations in Australia and New Zealand.

Contact: Sheena Martin
Contact Phone: +61 2 4921 8714
Contact Email: media@newcastle.edu.au