Urgent action needed to prevent WA Cockatoo extinctions

Alarming new Birdlife Australia figures released today confirm that Carnaby’s Cockatoos on the Perth-Peel Coastal Plain are on a trajectory to be extinct within the next 20 – 30 years.

The Great Cocky Count has included a 5-year trend analysis for the first time since it began, and it shows that the birds have been declining by 15% every year since 2010.

Conservation groups have called for significant new wildlife protection measures including a halt to any further logging or land clearing in areas of cockatoo habitat following the release of the figures.

The Federal Government’s 2013 Population Viability Assessment for the northern population of Carnaby’s concluded that the birds will be extinct in 20 years time if the current rate of habitat loss continues.  Today’s figures confirm this result.

“When I was young the Western Black Rhino was on the trajectory that the south-west black cockatoos are on now,” said WAFA convener Jess Beckerling. “They were declared extinct last year. We failed them, and the ecosystems to which they belong. We failed future generations.”

“At the current rate of decline, there will be no Carnaby’s cockatoos left around Perth by the time my kids are in their twenties. Our decision makers need to wake up to this and act decisively and courageously to make sure that we save these magnificent and iconic birds.

“We need new laws. The Wildlife Conservation Act WA was written in 1950. It is shamefully out dated and does not require the State to protect threatened species or their habitat. So when the State is the proponent, such as with native forest logging or urban bushland clearing for infrastructure, there is no law to require them to protect animals even when they’re on the endangered list.

“We need a comprehensive Biodiversity Conservation Act that binds the State and actually protects threatened species and their habitats. We need to protect the remnants of urban bushland. We need to stop logging native forests and complete the transition of the industry into plantations and farm forestry.

“All this is possible, it just requires the courage and clarity of vision of the Premier and his Cabinet.”


Jess Beckerling

0488 777 592