Agreement lays the foundation for a major Dambimangari program
Posted on 18 Dec 2017
Dambimangari Rangers Amon Jungine and Jordan Barunga with AWC Kimberley Operations Manager Toby Barton, Vice Chair of the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation Warren Barunga and Indigenous Protected Areas Manager James Mansfield.
A unique partnership between the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation will lay the foundations for one of Australia’s most important environmental management programs.
The remote landscape of stunning cliffs and pristine beaches has great conservation values recognised world-wide.
For the Dambimangari people, the wilderness region has unrivalled heritage and cultural values. Most travellers require permission from the State Government or the Dambimangari Board to access the area
The partners will work together on improving community knowledge and management programs for the region
For Dambimangari people, the joint initiative will deliver some of the group’s most important objectives–
Monitoring and management of the unique onshore flora and fauna
Training and skills development for Dambimangari Rangers and other employees.
Development of the group’s capability and reputation for environmental management.
It will complement the marine parks management under a separate agreement with the State Government.
The management area includes the popular Horizontal Falls site where huge tides are channelled between the red cliffs of Talbot Bay to create one of the most-photographed sites in Australia.
Using a well-established formula for co-operative project management, the partnership will make the most AWC’s scientific expertise and Dambimangari’s traditional knowledge.
Dambimangari Indigenous Protected Areas Manager James Mansfield said the partnership would be a major boost for the group’ Healthy Country program.
“The collaboration will not only enhance our operational capacity but also provide us with access to a science program that will help inform the way Dambimangari manages its country over time,” he said
“The AWC team brings a wealth of experience in fire ecology and feral animal and weed management. This combined with extensive Dambimangari Traditional Owner knowledge and an established ranger team means that the new partnership can really hit the ground running.
“The Healthy Country Plan and Traditional Owner advisory committee will guide a science-based survey and monitoring program.
“Additional operational support will allow us to increase our focus in other priority areas such as visitor management, the development of on-country ranger base facilities and assisting Dambimangari people with opportunities for cultural site visitation and maintenance activities.”
“The agreement incorporates a range of opportunities for education, training and succession planning.
“The Dambimangari Board has made it clear that it wants to see Dambimangari people leading our projects both in the field and at the administrative level. This partnership holds the potential to deliver some very solid conservation outcomes for a unique part of the world.”
AWC Chief Executive Officer Atticus Fleming said the program was driven by a commitment to support the aspirations of Dambimangari people.
The Dambimangari people are the traditional owners of more than 1.6 million hectares of land along the Kimberley coast, extending from just south of Yampi to the Prince Regent River.
“Dambimangari country includes some of the highest priority land for conservation in Australia. In particular, it includes a large proportion of the only area on the continent to have suffered no animal extinctions since European settlement,” Mr Fleming said
“Dambimangari people are thus the custodians of some of the largest and most important populations of many threatened mammal species
“A feature of Dambimangari country is the spectacular coastline ranging from dramatic sandstone cliffs that plunge into the ocean to low sandy beaches that host important sea turtle populations.
Pristine creeks and rivers, freshwater wetlands and rolling savanna woodlands interrupted by rainforest patches provide a diverse mix of habitats.”