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Natural Heritage Trust

16 October 2000

Fragile colony of miner birds wins life support

One of the world's few surviving colonies of Black-eared Miner birds has won a financial lifeline in today's announcement of $20.8 million in Natural Heritage Trust funding for South Australia.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said a $70,000 grant would help a dedicated group working to save the fragile colony of Black-eared Miners at Gluepot Reserve in South Australia.

"A fire in the reserve could go a long way towards eradicating this rare surviving colony of Black-eared Miners, these native birds have been at risk of being lost to the world forever,'' Senator Hill said.

The Black-eared Miner Recovery Plan has received Federal heritage trust funding for the past four years to pursue its work in protecting the birds. Late last month its coordinators made a remarkable breakthrough.

"Last month, 30 Black-eared miners were captured on Gluepot Reserve, tagged and then taken to Murray-Sunset National Park in Victoria to be released," Senator Hill said.

``Twelve days later three nests were built and two nests had eggs inside. Project managers have achieved an amazing result - they were hoping to see the birds breeding within 12 months and their objective was achieved in 12 days. The success goes a long way to securing the species' future."

The Recovery Plan is one of 283 South Australian projects to win Natural Heritage Trust funds - another $4000 grant will be used to find ways to deal with dairy effluent.

Senator Hill said the quality and number of applications from South Australian community groups for Trust funding this year was a massive endorsement of the Trust and built on results achieved in its first three years of operation.

These achievements included the planting of more than 550,000 seedlings, native vegetation works on more than 175,000 hectares of land, effective weed management on more than 70,000 hectares and 1830km of protective fencing - 324km designed to protect South Australia's precious waterways.

Other Natural Heritage Trust works within the State have contributed to the protection of threatened flora and fauna including the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black Cockatoo, (its population is increasing with a new maximum of 246), and the Greater stick-nest Rat, (numbers are up from 1000 to 4000).

"Community groups tapping into these Commonwealth funds are achieving remarkable results in tackling vast environmental problems plaguing the state's precious waterways," Senator Hill said.

Further information: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) 0419 258 364 or 08 8237 7920

Commonwealth of Australia