Locals have been asking about the sign that has recently appeared on a property on Ferries McDonald Road at Monarto South.
The sign, adjacent to a patch of remnant mallee owned by local farmer, Robert Thiele is promoting the ambitions of a local conservation group to establish a malleefowl research sanctuary on the site.
The conservation group calls itself Malleefowl Monarto and it has plans to acquire two properties to create a fenced area to provide a feral free haven for the local population of malleefowl. The malleefowl is protected nationally under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the population at Monarto South is especially threatened due to its isolation from other groups of birds.
Group coordinator, veterinarian Dr Rachel Westcott, said, “Simply continuing to monitor the population will not contribute to its ongoing survival in this area. There is a need for positive intervention to improve the genetics of this group before they succumb to inbreeding. An appropriately fenced sanctuary will provide the essential protection they need as well as contributing to our knowledge of the bird.”
Malleefowl construct a large mound, into which the female lays up to twenty eggs, that is then temperature controlled by the male, who adds leaf litter to the mound to incubate the eggs. Unfortunately for the birds the eggs are frequently dug up and eaten by foxes before they can hatch.
Landholder, Robert Thiele, was so impressed when he sighted his first mound that he instantly agreed to placing the sign on his property.
The resealing and realignment of Ferries McDonald Road was undertaken by Rural City of Murray Bridge under strict operating conditions of the EPBC Act, which contributed significantly to the increased cost of the road. Even so, concerns still remain as roadkill is an ever present problem affecting the long term viability of the bird population.
Malleefowl Monarto is currently seeking supporters and sponsors to acquire the land and is wanting to hear from interested parties.
Scoping studies for the sanctuary formation, physical form and viability financing have been completed.
More information can be obtained at www.malleefowlmonarto.org or by contacting: