Community & Environment |
BirdLife Australia

BirdLife Australia welcomes reprieve for mallee bird

11 February 2015

Ref. No.: 003/15

BirdLife Australia welcomes reprieve for mallee bird

The Mallee Emu-wren is a little bird with a big problem — confined to a small area of spinifex mallee in Victoria, they’re under constant threat from bushfires. BirdLife Australia welcomes the announcement yesterday that the Federal Government will fund a program to protect the birds.

“Mallee Emu-wrens are in big trouble,” said Dr Jenny Lau, BirdLife Australia’s Conservation Manager. “The only remaining population in the world occurs at a single area in north-western Victoria. They became extinct in South Australia last summer after wildfires burnt them out.”

“Another extensive bushfire could wipe out the world population of these birds,” she continued.

“Mr Hunt’s announcement to fund a program to create an insurance population could be a lifesaver.”

“BirdLife Australia has been advocating this solution as part of our IBA in Danger campaign,” Jenny added. “Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are sites of global conservation importance, and IBAs in Danger provide habitat for species that are at high risk of extinction should current threats continue.”

These tiny birds are unable to flee an approaching fire, and any that survive the flames have nowhere to live after the fire has passed.

“They only live in areas of spinifex that have not been burnt for at least 15 years, so any recovery after fire is a slow one.”

The announcement builds on the outcomes of an Emergency Summit which BirdLife Australia hosted last year.

Program partners include BirdLife Australia, LaTrobe University, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the South Australian Department of the Environment, Water and Natural Resources and Zoos South Australia.


media contact

Dr Jenny Lau, Conservation Manager, BirdLife Australia

M: 0457 444 005

E: jenny.lau