The little Aussie battler
There are two geographically discrete populations of Eastern bristlebird in Australia. The northern population of eastern bristlebird is endangered with only an estimated 30-50 individuals left in the wild. Their most significant decline may be attributed to changes to their environment since European settlement. Altered fire regimes, land clearing for farms and weeds are but some of the threats continuing to face this little Aussie battler.
Significant efforts are being made to ameliorate Bristlebird habitat led by the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Saving our Species (SoS) program. Closely monitored burns and weed control within their habitat range and intensive monitoring have suggested a more secure future for the population is possible. Plans to collect eggs or chicks from the wild to strengthen the genetic health of a captive zoo population are underway and will ensure a future release of captive bred birds provides a sustainable boost to this endangered population.
How we are helping:
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary hosts the captive component of the Northern Eastern Bristlebird Recovery Program. In collaboration with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, our goal is to breed and release captive bred birds to the wild whilst continuing to refine captive husbandry protocols.
In further collaboration with OEH, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary hosts a conservation detector dog named ‘Penny’. Penny is an English Working Springer Spaniel, who has been specially trained to sniff out the Eastern Bristlebird in the field. She has made herself right at home with her primary handler and CWS staff member Shannon Harriden and travels to work with her for extra training with a dedicated CWS Bristlebird team. In 2015 with the help of our canine superstar, our goals of collecting from the wild were achieved. These important birds were hand reared by Bird Supervisor Clancy Hall and keeper Lianne Knipe and will form an integral part of the captive breeding program and ultimately the successful recovery of the species in the wild.