Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area

Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area

Cape York Queensland | Declared in in June 2008

Learning from elders

The Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is Australia's 25th Indigenous Protected Area. It stretches across nearly 2,000 square kilometres of wet tropical forest and sand ridge country between Lockhart River, Coen and Weipa on Cape York. Like all of Australia's Indigenous Protected Areas, it protects some of the nation's rare and fragile environments for the benefit of all Australians.

The Indigenous Protected Area is managed by the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation and is a place of significant social, cultural, spiritual, historical and economic value for its traditional owners.

Kaanju refers to 'upland' and Ngaachi to 'homelands' or traditional country.

Kaanju Ngaachi's forests are among the most diverse and unspoiled in the world and they contain plant species that date back to the time of Gondwanaland. Through the vegetation along its rivers, the Indigenous Protected Area provides an important habitat link between the closed forests on either side of Cape York.

The rivers that border the Indigenous Protected Area contain an abundance of fresh water fish species. The Indigenous Protected Area protects an amazing range of animals, including nationally-endangered southern cassowaries, fish eagles, yellow-faced whip snakes and quolls. Saltwater crocodiles can be found in the lower Pascoe River where the salt meets the fresh water and the elusive freshwater crocodile lives in the lagoons and tributaries of the upper Pascoe and Wenlock rivers.

A team of rangers help look after the Indigenous Protected Area, controlling weeds, maintaining traditional fire regimes and fencing feral animals out of sensitive areas. Much of their work is funded by the Australian Government under the Caring for our Country initiative, through the Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country elements. Support also comes from the Queensland Government through the Wild Rangers program and from Bush Heritage Australia, delivered by the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation.

Chuulangun also has a cooperation agreement with the Wilderness Society, in support of an environmental protection and homelands development agenda for Kaanju homelands and the Indigenous Protected Area.

The declaration of Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area in June 2008 was made under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category V - Protected Area managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation.

Like all Indigenous Protected Areas, Kaanju Ngaachi is part of Australia's National Reserve System, a nationwide network of reserves especially set up to protect examples of Australia's unique landscapes, plants and animals for current and future generations.

For more information download the Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers fact sheet (PDF - 694 KB)

For more information about the Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area and the activities of the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation visit