One of the jewels of the Western Australian South Coast is Nullaki Peninsula which is located about 35 kilometres west of Albany. Facing the Southern Ocean, magnificent limestone cliffs (up to 140m tall) dominate the southern shoreline. Here the coastal heath terrain provides habitat for small animals. To the west, undulating dunes covered by many plant species protect the land from the harsh winds. The land then gently slopes northward down to Wilson Inlet where the topography is a mix of large sand hills and flat areas that end at the inlet shoreline.
Approximately 2500 hectares of western peninsula is cut off from the mainland by a seven kilometre chain link fence that seeks to block out unwanted feral animals such as foxes and cats. Within this protected area one finds a uniquely diverse landscape that has hosted a wide variety of native animals and plant species, some now gone, others remaining. Fauna species present cover a broad range of creatures including land animals, an array of bird life as well as amphibious and aquatic species. Some of the wildlife found include Honey Possums, Goannas, Bandicoots, Frogs, Snakes, Sea Eagles, Lizards and numerous kangaroos. Nullaki is also home to vulnerable and endangered species including Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and Carnaby’s Cockatoos. Mammal species such as the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possums may also be present but are yet to be recorded on the Nullaki.
The primary threat to these animals comes from the foxes and cats which are the focus of a baiting and trapping programme currently underway. As predator species are reduced, the protected area of the Nullaki will offer a truly unique opportunity to re-introduce species which once lived here. Animals from other areas that are threatened due to habitat loss and pressure from feral animals could also be translocated to Nullaki. This exciting prospect would create a unique sanctuary on the south coast allowing for species numbers to recover and more accessable scientific research to take place.
As someone who admires nature and has enjoyed the tranquil beauty of Nullaki for many years, I hope the prospect of seeing endangered native animals recover and thrive in such a diverse landscape is an opportunity not missed.
Fred Moreno – Nullaki Resident.