Reintroduction of the Mallee Emu-wren to Ngarkat Conservation Park

Why is this project needed?

The nationally endangered Mallee emu-wren (Stipiturus mallee) recently became extinct in South Australia, this is due to the impacts of large wildfires and drought. The Mallee emu-wren has been listed as one of the 20 priority threatened bird species by the Australian Government in their Australian Threatened Species Strategy (2015), a five year Action Plan using an action-based approach to protect and recover key threatened species.

The Mallee Emu-wren is now only found in three reserves of Victoria’s largest Mallee parks. Any further population declines will increase the relative importance of individual birds, potentially reducing capacity for wild-wild translocations. This may mean a more expensive captive breeding program, with captive-wild releases will be required.

Re-establishing populations via reintroductions is essential to reduce extinction risk and increase the number and stability of the Mallee emu-wren population nationally.

What is being done?

The project will seek to move 60-80 Mallee emu-wrens from Victoria’s Murray Sunset and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks back into their former range within South Australia’s Ngarkat Conservation Park, to re-establish a lost population. These are the first steps towards full scale reintroduction of a species back into the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin region and the state of South Australia.

Adopting a translocation strategy reduces the risk of losing the remaining populations in a single wildfire event, by re-establishing a geographically dispersed population.

It is expected that this phase will be completed by June 2019, with bird transfers occurring in autumn and winter 2018.

This project will be delivered and coordinated by Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) on behalf of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board.

The translocation will draw upon a large team of national experts from the Threatened Mallee Birds  Conservation Action Plan Steering committee, with support from scientists, local community, and critical logistics from regional Rotary groups. 


Related links

Lead agency

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin

Funding partners

This project is supported by the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and NRM levies, as well as contributions from all project partners including BirdLife Australia, Zoos SA, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Parks Victoria, Rotary International, La Trobe University, Monash University and Zoos Victoria.




More information

  • Fire and Threatened Mallee Bird Ecologist
    110A Mannum Road, Murray Bridge SA 5253
    08 8532 9100