A Recovery Plan for the Great Desert Skink (Egernia kintorei) 2001-2011

Arid Lands Environment Centre, 2001

Prepared by Steve McAlpin
ISBN 0-9577256-2-0

Executive Summary

The Great Desert Skink (Egernia kintorei) is a large burrowing lizard restricted to sandplain and gravelly habitats in the western deserts region of central Australia. Listed nationally as vulnerable, the Great Desert Skink has a scattered distribution across its range, and is known to have disappeared from former habitats, particularly in the Gibson Desert and Great Sandy Desert regions.

All currently known populations are on Aboriginal lands, and there is little coordinated management currently occurring for this species. A national Recovery Team for Tjakura (Great Desert Skink) was set up in 1999 to identify management priorities and to coordinate the national recovery effort.

The main threats to the ongoing survival of the Great Desert Skink appear to be inappropriate fire regimes and, to a lesser extent, exotic predator pressure. This Recovery Plan identifies a number of actions aimed at improving the conservation status of the Great Desert Skink. For logistical reasons, on-ground recovery actions are focussed in three key management areas: at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, on Ngaanyatjarra Lands in the vicinity of Warburton Community, and on Aboriginal Land Trust lands in the Tanami Desert in the vicinity of Sangsters Bore.

Recovery actions detailed within this document are focussed on improving our understanding of current distribution, ecology, management needs and conservation status of the species. On-ground recovery actions are directed at implementing fire management (specifically reinstating patch burning regimes) around key populations, and undertaking predator control work in areas where the impact of fox and cat predation on Great Desert Skink populations is shown to be unsustainable.

The Recovery Team will annually review progress toward objectives detailed in this Plan, and results of these reviews and any changes to the Recovery Plan made as a result of new information or trends shown in monitoring programs will be made available to all stakeholders and groups or individuals with an interest in the recovery of the Great Desert Skink.