Category: Recent Activities

Superb Parrots Habitat Study

comments Comments Off on Superb Parrots Habitat Study
By , December 30, 2011 11:08 am

AWS is investigating landscape use by the Superb Parrot in the Boorowa-Rugby region, NSW. For more information contact



ABC Landline story on kangaroo cooperative

comments Comments Off on ABC Landline story on kangaroo cooperative
By , October 31, 2011 2:46 pm

The Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative Ltd featured in an ABC TV Landline story on the issues constraining landholders from converting a liability into an asset and benefiting from the kangaroos on their properties. AWS has been working with the Cooperative to establish a regional approach across property boundaries to deliver more sustainable land management, biodiversity conservation and earning carbon and biodiversity credits.


Field trip to South Africa

comments Comments Off on Field trip to South Africa
By , October 19, 2011 9:16 am

Jennifer Smits, George Wilson and Lyn Wilson  spent three weeks in South Africa from 24 September 2011 learning from South African experiences and techniques of wildlife management and tourism. They were joined in the second week by a delegation of Anangu Rangers from Angas Downs

We were privileged to participate in the  recovery of a White Rhinoceros and calf which had been wounded by poachers attempting to remove its horn. The horn is used as a traditional (alternative) medicine in Vietnam and brings extremely high prices on the black market. Wildlife Vet Dr Cobus Raath led a team of veterinary volunteers and students to Nkomazi Game Reserve to catch and treat the Rhino. We helped with the procedure which was a great experience. Two weeks later the Rhino was recovering well. When the same poachers  attempted to take another rhino, they were killed in a shootout with Police in neighbouring Swaziland.

Later in the day George Wilson had the opportunity to use his darting skills to treat a sick giraffe in the game reserve.

AWS also sampled the hospitality of the South African tourism industry by staying at the Ngala  Safari camp near Kruger National Park – Orpen gate.. High-end tourism for wildlife viewing is certainly an industry that Australia could emulate and could be a key for tourism based Indigenous Community Development. See &Beyond website for their role in conversation and community projects in Africa and other developing nations.

During our stay, George Wilson was invited to participate in aerial spotting of wildlife over Kruger National Park. For more than two hours he flew  at low level in a microlight aircraft with Park Ranger Steven Whitfield. Their mission was to find a a rhino that had been injured in a fire and and to count sable antelope calves as part of a program to monitor their reproductive success.

Angas Downs Rangers in South Africa

comments Comments Off on Angas Downs Rangers in South Africa
By , October 18, 2011 2:40 pm

Angas Downs Rangers visited South Africa in October 2011 on a training and educational trip of a lifetime. The itinerary included visits to national parks and private game reserves. Topics covered

  • intensive wildlife management and techniques for increasing wildlife numbers, and catching and moving of wild animals
  •  importance of the dollar value of animals in both national parks and private game reserves to wildlife conservation
  • Indigenous guiding  and game viewing, tourism and accommodation support
  • role of fire and vegetation management conservation of wildlife and land management

The Rangers, who had never left Australia before, visited staff in Kruger and Mokala National Parks, and the South African National Parks Headquarters in Kimberley, the South Africa Wildlife College where they met students from all over Africa studying Wildlife Management and Conservation. Opportunities for collaboration and exchange are being explored.

The rangers were also lucky to view sustainable Springbok meat harvesting practices on private game reserves and see the contribution that hunting, game trading and ecotourism were making to sustaining conservation.

The Rangers nearly had celebrity status at the International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, South Africa in Kimberley with everyone wanting to have a photo with them. Many people came to the talk they presented on the Indigenous Protected Area and Working on Country programs and Angas Downs. A summary of the events at the Symposium are shown here.

And on the very last day, the Rangers were extremely lucky to experience traditional dance and culture of the San from the !Xun and Khwedam speaking tribes (relocated mainly from Angola)  in the satellite community Platfontein near Kimberley. Despite pressing poverty, the community is able to continue to practice and teach their culture thanks to the “Footprints of the San program” run by the San Institute and supported by the South African Government. The Rangers were impressed with the very colourful traditional dress and involvement of what seemed the whole community. The clapping sticks used by the San and red paint were also very similar to that used traditionally by Aboriginals  in Central Australia. The Footprints of the San program will eventually provide an exciting and unique tourism experience for people visiting South Africa and hopefully opportunity for economic development and employment within the community. A video of the traditional dance and song will be uploaded shortly.

Much was learnt from the South African  wildlife conservation, ecotourism and community development  programs. There were many parallels between community issues in South Africa and in Central Australia. The Rangers have taken these experiences and lessons back to their family and community in central Australia.

The trip to South Africa would not have occured were it not for kind donations of the Mutitjulu Foundation, Qantas, SEWPAC and Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin. Thank you to these sponsors – the trip was a huge success.


The International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, South Africa

comments Comments Off on The International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, South Africa
By , October 18, 2011 9:49 am

AWS staff and Angas Downs’ Indigenous Rangers sent a delegation to the International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, South Africa in Kimberley in October 2011. The theme of the Symposium was – The business of conservation – science, livelihoods and values. “The greatest contribution that wildlife ranching can make is in its extension to rural peoples throughout the world and the benefit from its sustainable use.”

Three papers were delivered:

George Wilson (Australian Wildlife Services) Status of wildlife ranching in Australia – an overview

Jennifer Smits, George Wilson, Tim Lander, Brad Lander, David Wongway and Darren Williamson  Indigenous land management for sustainable land and wildlife use on Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area, Central Australia

George Wilson and Jennifer Smits (Australian Wildlife Services) Australian conservation through sustainable use of kangaroos

The Rangers were honoured guests at the Symposium with Ministers and delegates jumping at the chance for a photo with the group. They made a presentation on the types of land management they are undertaking and progress with their work on Angas Downs IPA and how it relates to cultural maintenance.

The Rangers  secured generous funding from the Mutitjulu Foundation to enable them to attend from Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area, Northern Territory. Australian Government programs and Rotary Groups also supported the delegation. Other activities and learning adventures undertaken by Angas Downs Rangers in South Africa can be viewed here.

Angas Downs Rangers with the Premier of North West Cape

Indigenous Heritage – new recording of sites on Angas Downs

comments Comments Off on Indigenous Heritage – new recording of sites on Angas Downs
By , September 13, 2011 12:50 pm

During August-September, Indigenous Heritage surveys of rock art and artefact sites on Angas Downs was undertaken by Aboriginal elders, Australian Wildlife Services, Angas Downs Rangers and volunteers. Significant discoveries were made including rock painting and carvings sites and areas with abundant stone tools. The project which is ongoing, aims to locate and document unrecorded heritage sites, assess site condition, consult with traditional owners and community and formulate monitoring and management plans to protect the sites. The new sites have cultural importance as well as tourism potential for the Anangu owners of Angas Downs. Discussions to lead tourists to the sites will take place after assessment of site condition and management plans are in place. Anangu elders have asked to keep the locations and photos of the paintings confidential until Anangu elders are able to discuss their aspirations.

Angas Downs IPA Field Report 2010-2011

comments Comments Off on Angas Downs IPA Field Report 2010-2011
By , August 3, 2011 4:06 pm

The Angas Downs IPA field report for 2010-11 is now available. The report outlines the results of biodiversity surveys and landscape health surveys completed on the Indigenous Protected Area during that period.

The report can be downloaded here Home (0 downloads)


Kangaroos, low emission meat and the Carbon Farming Initiative

comments Comments Off on Kangaroos, low emission meat and the Carbon Farming Initiative
By , July 21, 2011 6:23 pm

The ABC Science Show on 16 July 2011 discussed the future of meat in Australia and the world. The presenter Robyn Williams asked the questions, ‘Can we afford all the land, energy, water and carbon release cattle and sheep require? Is farming meat now just too hard? Should roos be used as substitutes? Could we manufacture meat in vats in factories instead, using bacteria?’

He interviewed George Wilson who presented a paper on “Kangaroos, low emission meat and the Carbon Farming Initiative. The program Where’s the beef? Or is this the end of meat? can be downloaded from the ABC RN Science Show website.


AWS aircraft

comments Comments Off on AWS aircraft
By , July 19, 2011 3:12 pm

AWS has acquired a part share of an aircraft to assist with our field work and data collection. The Cessna 182 Turbo was flown out from Florida in USA via Hawai and Samoa, landing at the Gold Coast in late April.

In June it was used in a survey of feral camels in the Great Victoria Desert in central Australia.

In late August 2011 it provided support to searches of gullies and remote creeks on Angas Downs looking for Anangu art and heritage sites. It also conducted kangaroo and camel survey of the property.

Camel survey from the air – Great Victoria Desert

comments Comments Off on Camel survey from the air – Great Victoria Desert
By , June 10, 2011 10:06 am

AWS is collaborating in the collection of information on the distribution and abundance of camels in the Great Victoria Desert. The project involves large-scale aerial survey across the South Australian and West Australian border. Transects are flown at 250 feet above the ground and a 200 m strip is observed on either side of the aircraft in which camels are counted. The results are then used to estimate camel populations in the region as a prelude to subsequent control.

In recent years the growing size and impact of the feral camel population in Australia’s rangelands has emerged as a serious issue of management. The Australian Government has committed $19 million to a four-year project to reduce the number and density of feral camels around priority environmental assets (biological refugia and high conservation value aquatic ecosystems). With an equivalent level of activity by state governments, there is potential for a significant reduction in the size and impact of the feral camel herd, as well as opportunities for some development of a local camel industry. More details at