Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area

Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area

North-west corner, South Australia | Declared in April 2010

Images courtesy of Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management Unit.

Black footed rock wallaby | photo: Michael Pedersen

The Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area stretches for more than 580,000 hectares across the north-west corner of South Australia.

The Tomkinson and Mann ranges dominate the north-west landscape of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands while in the south, sand dune country with rocky outcrops provides habitat for an unexpected number of plant and animal species.

The ranges in the north continue to prove a safe haven for one of the few remaining colonies of the warru (black-footed rock wallaby) which is critically endangered in South Australia. There are also recent records of sightings and active nests of the nationally threatened nganamara (mallee fowl).

Nguraritja (Anangu traditional owners) have lived off and managed this part of South Australia for tens of thousands of years in line with Tjukurpa (law).

The area is full of sacred sites related to Anangu dreaming - particularly Tjukurpa about malu (red kangaroo). The malu dreaming is Watiku Tjukurpa (men's only dreaming). This doesn't mean that women cannot visit this area, only that there are significant sites that only men can visit and manage.

Southwest of Pipalyatjara there are many other important stories including the end of the Tjakura (great desert skink) dreaming. The Tjakura is a threatened species which has several extant colonies in the adjoining Watarru Indigenous Protected Area to the south.

Today, separated by a prominent outcrop, the Kalka and Pipalyatjara communities are situated about 20 kilometres apart - and about 350 kilometres west from Umuwa, the administrative centre of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. The nearest major town is Alice Springs - about 1,000 kilometres away.

Despite changes over the past two hundred years of European occupation, the Anangu have renewed their ability to manage their traditional lands with the help of Australian Government programs.

These programs focus on using a mixture of traditional and western scientific techniques to manage the natural and cultural values of the landscape. Under the Caring for our Country Program, the Australian Government funded $197,451 in 2009-10 to help Kalka-Pipalyatjara as part of a management planning project that included two other areas on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands .

Images courtesy of Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management Unit.

Images courtesy of Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management Unit.

The Kalka and Pipalyatjara communities work alongside the Australian Government and the Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management Unit to manage their country. They are also working with the Central Land Council in cross border work that extends their land management role across their full traditional estate.

There are male and female rangers working on country, supported by the Australian Government as part of Closing the Gap under the Working on Country program. The rangers take part in different management activities including weed and feral animal control, fencing, cultural heritage conservation, surveying plants and animals and threatened species management.

Like all Australia's Indigenous Protected Areas, Kalka-Pipalyatjara is part of the National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting native habitat for future generations. Declaration of the Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area creates a significant conservation block extending across borders and linking directly with the Ngaanyatjarra Indigenous Protected Area in Western Australia and the proposed Petermann-Katiti Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory. It also provides a north-south conservation link with the Watarru Indigenous Protected Area in the south and the proposed Petermann Katiti Indigenous Protected Area in the north.

Declared in April 2010, Kalka-Pipalyatjara is managed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category VI, as a protected area with sustainable use of natural resources.

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