The Queensland Government employs two Indigenous land and sea rangers through the Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, the first of which were employed in 2008. Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers employ a total of nine rangers, some of which are employed through the Australian Government’s Working on Country program.
The Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers manage the Mapoon Deed of Grant of Land in Trust (DOGIT) lands, which cover about 1,839 square kilometres on the western side of Cape York Peninsula. The area contains the Wenlock River Basin as well as catchments of the Skardon River, Ducie River, Wenlock River, Dulhunty River, Janie Creek and numerous smaller tributaries.
Achievements and activities underway
- Intensive turtle research carried out for a 31 day period based out of 'Turtle Camp', located at the mouth of Janie Creek. This resulted in 215 turtle nests mapped and tracked for predation and emergence.
- A new turtle triage centre was established for turtles rescued from nets during the monsoon season.
- Ghostnet work. In 2010, 1,012 nets were removed from 80 kilometres of Gulf coastline.
Training and professional development
- Eight professional development and training sessions in wildlife care, rescue and handling with Australia Zoo have been held for rangers up until October 2011.
- Training in crocodile handling techniques and crocodile hatchling work.
- By December 2010, six rangers completed the competencies required to obtain a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management.
- Five nationally renowned net artists conducted three workshops in weaving, sculpture and making utilities from net and rope in April 2011.
- Five rangers have been on a study tour to the Northern Territory to enhance ranger skills and ideas.
- Formalisation of the Junior Ranger program in conjunction with the Department of Education and Training.
- Monthly junior rangers outings that teach students about sustainable natural resource management.
- A fire management plan has been developed with the Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers for the Mapoon DOGIT lands.
- The Mapoon Land and Sea Centre has been completed and is fully functional.
- A revegetation program is in full swing with over 100 seedlings planted in the 2010 wet season.
- Monthly water quality testing at three monitoring sites on the Ducie and Wenlock Rivers and in Namaleeta Creek.
- Feral pig culling of over 700 pigs in the Mapoon DOGIT destroyed so far in 2011.
Cultural site management
- Over 50 gravesites and 80 old dwellings mapped for a cultural heritage management plan.
- Continual water quality testing of major rivers in the area to establish baseline data.
- Monitoring of pest animals and predator consumption of native animals, such as turtle eggs and hatchlings.
- Biodiversity studies in the Mapoon DOGIT.
- Construction of an animal exclusion fence around significant wetlands that are used for hunting and are close to the Mapoon township.
- Blood sampling and disease detection project in conjunction with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).
- Continual removal of ghost nets from coastline and mangroves.
- Continued development of rangers in Certificate III of Conservation and Land Management.
- Mapping of crocodile nesting habitat.
- Establishment of a Cultural heritage management plan for DOGIT lands.
Land and sea rangers have worked very closely with the Western Cape College Mapoon campus throughout 2011. Campus Principal, Mrs Baressa Fraser, said there were 12 students in the Year 4, 5 and 6 composite class that are involved in the Junior Ranger program. In 2011 Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers hosted junior rangers from the school on a three-day excursion at Turtle Camp and Flinders Beach to observe turtle nesting behaviour and to monitor nest predation.
Students learn about nature directly from the rangers as well as community members, who are encouraged to participate in the camp. Students enthusiastically entered into a competition to develop a local version of the junior rangers badge. In addition to the camp, junior rangers in Mapoon have monitored shore bird populations and conducted a beach clean-up activity.
- Australia Zoo
- Australian Customs
- Australian Government—Working on Country Program
- Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
- Birds Australia
- Cook Shire (Cape York Weeds and Ferals) CYPMAG
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
- On Country Training
- Queensland Government—Biosecurity
- Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection—Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program
- Ghost Nets Australia
- Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
- Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services—Turtle research
- University of Queensland—Cultural Heritage Work.
- Contact person: Jane Blackwood
- Phone: (07) 4090 9124
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Postal address: Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, PO Box 213, Weipa QLD 4874.
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