The Kimberley International Ranger Forum was held at the Dampier Peninsula last month to celebrate the role rangers play in caring for country.
Hosted by the Kimberley Land Council and Ocean Revolution, the three-day knowledge sharing and networking event enabled a number of Kimberly ranger groups to showcase the range of activities that they have been involved in.
Volker Mischker, program manager for the Kimberley, attended on behalf of Rangelands NRM WA and described the event as “amazing”.
“It was fantastic to see the number of activities and projects that the ranger groups have been involved in and how far they’ve come. It has been an enormous opportunity for a number of rangers to learn more about the land as well as sharing their own knowledge.
“Due to the ranger groups, many individuals have now received training in areas that perhaps they wouldn’t have been involved in before, and the opportunity to get out on country in an active capacity.
“Whilst rangers are predominantly men, it’s also great to note an emerging number of womens’ ranger groups,” Mr Mischker said.
Also in attendance at the event were a group of Comcáac land and sea managers from Sonora in Mexico, and a number of other special guests including Senator Louise Pratt. The Mexican rangers shared some of their own experiences during a series of workshops.
On the final day of the event, Kimberley Traditional Owners were pleased to announce the creation of four new Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) along the north Kimberley coast.
Mr Mischker said he was delighted about the news of four new IPAs, which will create a conservation corridor along the north Kimberley coast.
“This is a great achievement and opportunity for Traditional Owners and the natural resources of the north Kimberley.
“On behalf of Rangelands NRM WA, we wish to congratulate the Kimberley Land Council and partners who have worked so hard to bring about this achievement,” he said.
Kimberley Land Council CEO Nolan Hunter said the creation of Indigenous Protected Areas or Aboriginal National Parks was the preferred land management model for Kimberley Traditional Owners and Aboriginal rangers.
“Indigenous Protected Areas are primarily managed and owned by Aboriginal people and allow us to look after our country our way.
“A revolution is occurring in the Kimberley as we change the way we do business. Indigenous Protected Areas and the Kimberley Ranger Network are a big part of this as we utilise our traditional knowledge to create eco-system based enterprises and provide our people with business opportunities while protecting culture,” he said.
- The Kimberley Ranger Network is comprised of 14 ranger groups employing more than 100 Aboriginal rangers and their elders.
- The Indigenous Protected Areas included in the conservation corridor include:
- Bardi Jawi covering 354,867 hectares near One Arm Point on the Dampier Peninsula,
- Dambimangari covering 2,639,405 hectares along the Buccaneer Archipelago,
- Balanggarra covering 2,415,724 hectares across Wyndham,
- Wilinggin covering 2,761,000 hectares along the Gibb River Road,
- Uunguu covering 340,000 hectares in the far north Kimberley near Truscott (previously declared).
- IPA declarations involve a three-year planning process.
- Kimberley Traditional Owners produce Healthy Country Plans which set out the management guidelines and conservation targets for the IPA.
Image: Four new Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) have been declared along the north Kimberley coast (© V Mischker)