Friends of the Western Ground Parrot
You can support this organisation by donating during your visit to the park - you'll find the donation box in The Dome; home to Meet The Wombat & Friends.
There are thought to be less than 150 Western Ground Parrots left in the wild, making it WA’s rarest bird, and one of the most endangered parrots in the world.
The WGP is a nocturnal parrot native to WA - once found in a coastal strip from Lancelin north of Perth to the South Australian border in the East, favouring unburnt low heathland that contains a variety of plant species. Today they are known only in the Cape Arid National Park. As the name implies it spends much of its time on the ground where it also builds its nest. World-wide there are only four other species of ground-dwelling parrots, the almost extinct Night Parrot, New Zealand's Kapako, the Antipodean Island Parrot and the Eastern Ground Parrot.
Currently (February 2020) there are just 8 individuals in captivity; residing at Perth Zoo, as part of a captive breeding program.
The Friends of the Western Ground Parrot group was formed in 2003 by a handful of concerned south coast residents that were worried about the parrot’s decline and aimed to help gain the community’s support.
An extremely hard species to survey in the field, donations help the Volunteers of the Western Ground Parrot team survey other potential sites by on-ground surveys at dawn as well as the use of camera traps in areas thought to be frequently by the species.
On 20 December 2019, lightning started an out-of-control bushfire which swept through Cape Arid National Park and nearby Nuytsland Nature Reserve burning close to 40,000 hectares including core Western Ground Parrot habitat before it was brought under control in difficult conditions. This is the third major fire since 2015 and each of these has burnt large areas of parrot habitat and likely resulted in the loss of birds either directly or subsequently from increased pressure from native and introduced predators. FWGP have lobbied for emergency feral predator control to be carried out immediately to protect the surviving birds as particularly feral cats are known to concentrate their hunting into remaining unburnt habitat areas following fires.
At this stage the impact on the last wild Western Ground Parrot population, which was estimated at less than 150 individuals prior to the fire, is not known. Apart from the known population at Cape Arid National Park, it is possible that birds still continue to exist in remote parts of Fitzgerald River National Park which have never been properly searched due to the lack of access tracks. If the parrots survive out there, they need to be protected from feral predators as soon as possible.
FWGP have already donated funds for the purchase of 10 solar-powered automated recording units and their deployment by helicopter, and are now raising additional funds so the remaining 10 units needed to survey the remote area can also be purchased.
Learn more about the inspiring work being done by Friends of the Western Ground Parrot here: western-ground-parrot.org.au