Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 - The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy today helped announce the declaration of the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area, Australia’s largest land conservation area.

Speaking from Sangsters Bore in the Northern Territory, Peter Taylor—external affairs director for The Nature Conservancy in Australia—said the declaration is a dream made reality for the Warlpiri people and his organisation.

"The Nature Conservancy is pleased to contribute $500,000 toward supporting the management of this area and the Warlpiri rangers,” Mr Taylor said.

“We are happy to join with the Warlpiri, the Central Land Council, and the Federal Government as this Indigenous Protected Area becomes a reality.”

Mr Taylor said that today’s announcement was a celebration of the Warlpiri people's connection with country.

“We’re looking forward to assisting the Warlpiri people in protecting their country and helping to create a sustainable economic future for local Indigenous people around conservation and land management,” he said.

Mr Taylor added that Southern Tanami would create conservation benefits for all Australians, as well as have an impact on the health and wellbeing of local Indigenous communities.

Stretching across more than 10 million hectares, Southern Tanami is 30% larger than Tasmania. It includes two internationally important sites for conservation: the southwest Tanami Desert and Lake Mackay. The ancient land contains habitat critical to the survival of many of Australia’s threatened species, including the bilby, mulgara, and great desert skink. Southern Tanami also includes important wetlands, breeding sites for waterbirds, and rare and threatened plants.

“In this IPA, Warlpiri rangers will combine science with Indigenous ecological knowledge to deliver new solutions to challenges around issues such as fire management, feral animals, and weed control,” Mr Taylor said.

“But it will also ensure that Indigenous knowledge and culture is kept alive and that areas of high conservation significance are protected against new threats.”

The Indigenous Protected Area program allows Indigenous people to conserve and manage their lands through the National Reserve System, Australia’s network of protected areas. 

The Nature Conservancy has long been a strong supporter of the IPA program and for greater recognition of Indigenous people’s efforts to protect environmental and cultural heritage values.

Mr Taylor said the Indigenous Protected Area initiative was one of Australia's most successful conservation stories, protecting biodiversity while providing training and employment for Indigenous people doing work on their own country.

“The Nature Conservancy works with Indigenous people across the world, and we know that Australia’s IPA system is at the forefront of global efforts to empower Indigenous groups to manage traditionally held lands.”

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540 or [email protected]

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The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a leading conservation organisation working around the world in more than 30 countries to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Nature Conservancy has worked with Indigenous groups and other partners to protect more than 6 million hectares in Australia since 2000. We helped to secure 29 high priority additions to the National Reserve System, including some of the largest private protected areas in Australia. The Nature Conservancy is now supporting the conservation of nearly 30 million hectares of largely Indigenous lands across northern and central Australia and we’re working to conserve the Great Western Woodlands, the the world’s largest intact temperate woodland. Visit The Nature Conservancy at
Penny Underwood
P: 03 9818 8540


The Nature Conservancy, Southern Tanami, Largest National Protected Area



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