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Newsupdate no. 64 – September 2014 Captive WGPs now at Perth Zoo: the official handover A big event in the Western Ground Parrot (WGP) recovery story was enacted on 30 July 2014 at Perth Zoo. It was the official handover of the seven captive Western Ground Parrots from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), South Coast Region, to Perth Zoo. The short term objectives are to maintain the health of the birds and to continue the trial breeding program. If there is success in these goals, the breeding program may be expanded with an ultimate goal of releasing birds into the wild. The CEO of Perth Zoo, Susan Hunt, made a short speech, looking forward to the success of the project including liaison with DPaW. She introduced the Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Albert Jacobs. (Both are pictured below. Photo: S. Fryc) The Minister thanked all personnel from DPaW and the Zoo who had been involved in the Recovery Project to this point. He warmly congratulated Friends of the Western Ground Parrot on their successful fund-raising efforts. The $15000 which the Friends had been able to contribute to Perth Zoo played a crucial role in enabling the birds to be transferred to the Zoo. Arthur Ferguson (Supervisor of Zoology and supervisor of the WGP project) showed the group the remote CCTV monitoring screen. The seven birds are paired the same as they were on the South Coast, with one spare male, so in all they occupy four separate but adjacent aviaries each 10m by 3m. The CCTV camera surveillance system records the activity of the birds 24 hours a day and enables the viewer to remotely view the birds moving among the vegetation in the aviaries and also onto the feed trays, where their weights are recorded with the aid of digital scales.

The birds had actually been at Perth Zoo for nearly four weeks prior to the official function, and had settled in to their new location with a very new sound-scape which includes gibbons and lions. The timing was good as initial breeding activity could commence before the end of August. The birds are housed in a part of the zoo where there is no access to the public and much effort was put into preparing suitable aviaries for them. Great care is being taken to maintain hygiene. The aviary is roofed to prevent bird droppings from passing birds from falling in, and it should also prevent predators from scaring the birds. Another advantage of the roof is temperature control. The plumbing can offer the sensation of rain or cooling when needed. The internal walls of the enclosure have been softened so that a flushed bird should not injure itself. Two zoo staff members have day to day responsibility for the birds and each of them is very well experienced in breeding birds in captivity. They are Matt Ricci and Duncan Haliburton. B. Newbey

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Left: Part of the CCTV monitoring screen for remote viewing of the birds, photographed at a busy moment on the feed trays. Below: The purpose-built aviaries, not accessible to the public. Photos: S. Fryc

Chair’s Chirpings This was a very productive quarter in many ways, particularly for further promoting and raising the awareness of the plight of our Western Ground Parrot. As you are no doubt aware, the care of the 7 captive Western Ground Parrots was transferred to the Perth Zoo. Committee members, Georgina Steytler, Michael Walters, Peter Stewart and David Taylor represented the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot. It was very pleasing to see other members of the Friends of WGP and Birdlife WA in attendance. Reports from the Zoo staff state that the birds have settled into their new surrounding very well. The aviaries housing the captive birds are first class and a credit to the Zoo. Another highlight of the quarter was an invitation to meet with the Commissioner of Threatened Species, Gregory Andrews. This is a new position recently made by the Federal Government. Committee members Georgina Steytler and Michael Walters represented the Friends and Deon Utber representing DPaW at a meeting on 11 August. From all accounts this was a very positive meeting.

Sunday 7 September was National Threatened Species Day. Through Project Numbat, funding was received to provide marquees, tables and chairs in Fremantle for interested parties. Friends of the Western Ground Parrot joined with four other groups to have display stands at this event. Although not a lot of merchandise was sold, once again the plight of the bird was raised. It was very pleasing to see many members call in and say “hello”. (Photo page 5) A raffle was held on the day and thanks must go to Lorraine Parke for donation of the hand-made family of penguins. The raffle was won by Brad Miller. Funnily enough, Brad was manning a marquee for Kaarakin, the Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre. Well done Brad. Thanks go to Project Numbat for organizing the day and inviting us to attend. Want to see some of the photos etc of what’s happening in your organization? Have a look at the Friends’ Facebook and Twitter pages on the internet and have the opportunity to share your thoughts, likes and dislikes. Dave Taylor

FoWGP Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Western-Ground-Parrot/283796521652371 Friends of the Western Ground Parrot Twitter : https://twitter.com/@FriendsWGP Western Ground Parrot History Blog: http://www.westerngroundparrothistory.blogspot.com.au 2


Notes and reminders from FWGP secretary, Anne Bondin Donations We would like to take this opportunity and thank all our supporters out there who have made generous donations to the Western Ground Parrot Rescue Fund. Without your contributions we would not have been able to make donations to Perth Zoo to assist with the captive breeding project. In June we donated $15,000 to help with the refurbishment of the aviaries at the zoo and in observance of Threatened Species Day this month, we donated a further $5,439 to help with the purchase of additional equipment.

Western Ground Parrot on national TV Readers might recall from the previous edition of our newsletter that we were involved in filming a segment for the ABC Open Project “My Crazy Passion�. Our video clip was initially posted on the ABC website. However, it has since aired on the WA edition of the 7:30 Report and was also shown on national TV on ABC News24. In case you haven't seen the video and are curious to find out what our chairman's crazy passion is, click on the link below: https://open.abc.net.au/explore/74030. Huge thanks go to Suzannah Lyons from the Albany ABC office for making this project possible.

AGM

We are holding our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 7 October at 2:30pm at the South Coast NRM Conference Room, 39 Mercer Road in Albany. The meeting will include an update about the Recovery Project from Sarah Comer (Chair South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team) and a presentation about the Captive Breeding Program provided by Perth Zoo. Everyone is welcome to attend. We look forward to meeting you. Membership fees A reminder that some of you have yet to pay your annual membership fee. Please note that your membership will lapse by the end of September if we do not receive payment. To renew your membership, you can make a direct deposit into our account held with Westpac: BSB 036168 A/C: 298423 or you can send a cheque made out to Friends of the Western Ground Parrot.

SunSuper Dreams success by Georgina Steytler Thanks to the generous votes of friends and other supporters, we recently won a $5,000 grant in the SunSuper Dreams competition after garnering over 3400 votes. The support we received was inspirational and goes to show that people power can make a difference. The Friends of the Western Ground Parrot has donated $5439, comprised mainly of the grant, to help Perth Zoo buy equipment essential to the success of the captive breeding program. We may have won the SunSuper Dreams battle, but the war against extinction is far from over.

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Department of Parks and Wildlife Integrated Fauna Recovery Program (IFRP) Autumn Update 2014 Lucy Clausen, Saul Cowen, Louisa Bell, Jon Pridham, Jeff Pinder, Abby Berryman and Sarah Comer

Three Western Ground Parrot (WGP) monitoring trips were conducted in autumn at Poison Creek, Pasley Track in Cape Arid National Park and Drummond/Short Rd in the Fitzgerald River National Park. The numbers of calls heard in Cape Arid National Park were outstanding with over 100 calls heard by several listeners on several nights. Positive signs in Cape Arid The Poison Creek trip, conducted in early March, had perfect weather conditions of warm (but not hot), sunny days every day, followed by calm evenings. This provided excellent listening conditions with calling rates so high at times, that it was impossible to record every call - which although frustrating was a wonderful experience for those lucky enough to be in the prime positions! Hopefully the high numbers of calls are indicative of a successful breeding season but certainly this is a really positive sign of recovery after the 2010-2011 bushfire in the area and we hope to see a continuing positive trend in this critically important WGP population. Later in the month the Pasley survey had similar call rates around camp, providing an exciting experience for new and experienced volunteers alike. It was a very busy week of deploying Songmeters (autonomous recording units), processing many bush rats and a record number of individual Quendas during the Western Shield trapping.Parks and Wildlife staff were also tasked with resetting 80 cameras that were surveying cat activity in the area.

Bleak outlook in Fitzgerald Unfortunately the Fitzgerald River National Park survey wasn’t so fruitful with another survey period passing and still no WGPs being detected. Eighteen Songmeters were also deployed in some favourable looking locations that hadn’t been surveyed for a number of years. But unfortunately these too did not produce a single call. The Western Shield trapping at Drummond Track produced a nice suite of species although low in numbers. For the first time, two Quenda were trapped in this area. 61 Songmeters in total were setup across the three survey grids - across the two parks for the month of April. These have now been retrieved and the large task of analysing this data has just begun. Pasley produced a new outlier location to the east, extending the known distribution range! Another new location west of Pasley track was detected. However this is within an area that has had some survey luck previously. Feral cat research continues in Cape Arid and has begun at Two Peoples Bay- Mt Manypeaks Nature Reserves area. Camera surveys have been conducted with the processing of images and cat collar retrievals underway. Feral cat baiting was conducted in these areas as well as in ‘The Fitz’ over autumn. The Parks and Wildlife IFRP project team is Lucy Clausen, Abby Berryman, Louisa Bell, Saul Cowen, Jeff Pinder, Jon Pridham and Sarah Comer. This project is funded by Biodiversity Fund, State NRM, South Coast NRM and the team is grateful to be assisted by District Nature Conservation staff, Science staff from Woodvale, Albany and Esperance administration staff, the park rangers, and by the very willing and helpful volunteers who put up with our bad jokes and cooking on camping trips!

Above: Pasley team pointing to where they heard a Western Ground Parrot. Right: Part of Cape Arid National Park Photos: Lucy Clausen

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LANDSCOPE ARTICLE : Kyloring, Cats and Conservation A detailed and well-illustrated LANDSCOPE article, published last year, gives some good background information about the Western Ground Parrot recovery project. The article can be found at : http://tinyurl.com/nmth2tw Please DONATE to the Western Ground Parrot Rescue Fund Online at : http://www.givenow.com.au/groundparrot Direct credit: Western Ground Rescue Fund. BSB: 036-168 A/C: 317989 Cheque: Western Ground Parrot Rescue Fund (FWGP address below) Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Left: Setting up our National Threatened Species stall in Fremantle on 7 Sept. The set of three raffled penguins can be seen on the table. Photo: Dave Taylor Above: An eyecatching artwork by Natalie Grassi (copyright to Natalie Grassi)

Contacts: David Taylor (Chair). Phone 0458502836

Anne Bondin (Secretary/Treasurer). Phone (08) 9844 1793

Address: PO Box 5613, Albany, WA 6332

Email: wgparrot@gmail.com

Website: http://www.western-ground-parrot.org.au Archive: Previous issues of our newsletter are available online at http://wgpnewsletters.blogspot.com/

Editor: Stephen Fryc Email: pwazzx@gmail.com

Next issue: December 2014

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September 2014  

Friends of the Western Ground Parrot Newsletter, September 2014

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