NEARLY 34,000 hectares of land on central Eyre Peninsula has been given greater protection under the state’s parks system.
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Paul Caica today said conservation parks were declared at Caralue Bluff, Heggaton and Plug Range, and land added to the Sheoak Hill and Ironstone Hill Conservation Parks, all within 60 kilometres of Kimba.
An extra 200ha was added to the Gawler Ranges National Park, while the 15,000ha Gawler Ranges Conservation Reserve was given an extra level of protection, becoming the Gawler Ranges Conservation Park.
“Each of these parks has its own special characteristics and has been designed to aid the conservation and protection of threatened species of flora and fauna,” Mr Caica said.
“The Gawler Ranges National Park – which is co-managed with Traditional Owners – is home to more than 1,000 flora and fauna species including the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo.
“This region features ancient and unique rock formations such as the dramatic Organ Pipes, which formed as a result of volcanic eruptions more than 1500 million years ago.
“As anyone who has visited will agree, this is one of our truly special places.”
Mr Caica said between them the five new parks near Kimba are home to more than 20 threatened species of birds, animals and plants.
“The parks provide habitat for a marsupial mouse known as the sandhill dunnart and endangered and vulnerable birds such as the striated grass wren and mallee fowl,” he said.
“Protecting areas such as these is vital to the ongoing conservation of South Australia’s unique biodiversity, so being able to declare new parks is a privilege.
“The State Government has a strong history of adding to land under protection and recently introduced Conserving Nature, a strategy for establishing a system of protected areas across the state.
“Close to 1.3 million hectares of South Australia has been added to the state’s protected area system or re-classified to a higher conservation status in the past 10 years, including almost 880,000ha of wilderness protected areas – the highest level of protection.
“In 2002 barely 70,000ha of the state was protected at this level.”
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