Yalata Indigenous Protected Area
South Australia | Declared in October 1999
Lying at the edge of the Great Victoria Desert on the southern margin of Australia's majestic Nullarbor Plain, Yalata Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) covers 456,300 hectares of coastal dunes, limestone cliffs, sand plains and shrublands. It was declared in October 1999.
Originally occupied by Wirangu and Mirning coastal communities, Yalata's Traditional Owners also comprise Kokata, Antakarinja, Pindiini, and Ngalea western desert peoples. These groups are linked through cultural affiliations and traditional practices. The Yalata community identify as southern Anangu, and speak a Pitjantjatjara dialect. Owned by the South Australian Aboriginal Lands Trust, and leased by the Yalata Community Council, the IPA is managed by the Yalata Community.
Anangu live mainly in the small township of Yalata, and use the land for hunting and fishing, and for cultural purposes. Archaeological dating of cultural sites shows that Aboriginal people have lived in the Nullarbor area for at least 40,000 years.
Surrounded by national parks and reserves, and the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, Yalata forms part of a wider region identified for conservation purposes. Yalata protects large areas of native vegetation that remain uncleared, and it is part of one of the largest patches of mallee in the country.
Around 20,000 people visit Yalata each year to fish, camp and watch the migration of southern-right whales which arrive from Antarctica between June and October.
Such large numbers of visitors put pressure on the environment, particularly on the fragile dune systems. Environmental management and conservation activities performed by Anangu rangers help to alleviate these impacts. Important breeding grounds for whales and fish are being protected and managed, and viewing platforms and boardwalks have been constructed to protect dunes and beach areas from erosion.
Yalata's coastal environment is also being stabilised through revegetation, achieved by seed collection and propagation of local species. Highly invasive boxthorn is being removed and feral animal control work is underway. These cause the loss of native animal habitats and reduce the levels of biodiversity on Yalata, and are the focus of a wider invasive species management strategy.
Yalata IPA is managed under the following World Conservation Union category:
- Category V - Protected Area managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation.