The Brolga (Grus rubicunda) is an iconic crane species in our landscape, creating an evocative image as pairs dance together at dawn and dusk around our local wetlands. The species has a broad distribution including the far north (Northern Territory and Queensland) and south-eastern Australia (south western Victoria and the South East of South Australia). However, over the last three decades the southern population has declined severely, primarily as a result of habitat fragmentation and degradation, and predation by foxes. It is estimated that only 200-250 nesting pairs remain, highlighting the need for further information on the species biology and ecology to better understand reasons for its decline and to enable the implementation of conservation measures to ensure the birds’ future.
NGT and The University of Melbourne are seeking your help to fund an investigation into the genetic status of the southern Brolga population. Currently there is some uncertainty surrounding the connectivity of the northern and southern Brolga populations, including doubts about whether they are the same species. If the southern Brolga population is determined to be genetically distinct, its conservation status is likely to move from ‘threatened’ to ‘critically endangered’, increasing the urgency of its protection.
The genetic study will also help confirm the findings of a recent ecological study (unpublished) that indicated the potential existence of isolated breeding populations in south-western Victoria These findings spell bad news for the southern Brolga, suggesting that local population sizes are critically low and the species may be even more vulnerable than previously assumed. The genetic study will clarify these findings by providing a detailed estimate of population structure through the assessment of breeding relationships among birds from both southern and northern Australia. It will also help identify important refuge wetland habitats for protection in order to conserve resident populations.
The information gained from the genetic study will provide both government and industry with the necessary information needed to maximise the species’ chance of survival, identify critical habitat for protection, and minimise risks associated with land-use activities. With your help we can undertake this important project to secure the Brolgas future, and provide future generations with the opportunity to witness these iconic wetland birds. If you want further details about this project please contact NGT’sAdam Miller (0488 735 482), and to find out more about the previous Brolga project please refer tohttp://victorianbrolgastudy.com.au/.
You can donate via two mechanisms:
1) EFT Bank Transfer
Account Name: NGT Research Fund
Account Number: 12029616
Reference: Brolga Project
2) A cheque addressed to:
NGT Research Fund
PO Box 2177
Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Reference: Brolga Project