Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Yarnangu Traditional Owners  Western Australia

Mount Chappell and Badger Islands Indigenous Protected Areas

Map showing the location of Mount Chappell and Badger Islands Indigenous Protected Areas, north of Tasmania

North-eastern tip of Tasmania | Declared in September 2000

Found in the Bass Strait off the north-eastern tip of Tasmania, the 325 hectare Mount Chappell Island and 971 hectare Badger Island form part of the Furneaux Group of islands.

The two islands were declared Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) in September 2000, and are managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

photos: (left) Mt Chappell Island Ranger Station. (right) Revegetation on Badger Island. (bottom) Badger Island seascape

photos: (left) Mt Chappell Island Ranger Station. (right) Revegetation on Badger Island. (bottom) Badger Island seascape

The islands have long been regarded by Aboriginal people as an important part of the seasonal food-gathering cycle, and the Tasmanian Government handed them back to the Aboriginal community in 1995.

The introduction of exotic plants and animals has put pressure on the land, and overgrazing, land clearing and inappropriate burning regimes have added to this. The islands now experience a range of environmental problems, including land degradation and the loss of native animal and plant species.

Communities of Aboriginal families regularly visited Chappell Island during mutton-bird breeding seasons—archaeological evidence of occupation in the region dates back at least 20,000 years. By the 1850s many families were living permanently on nearby islands, earning a regular income from the mutton-bird industry up until the 1950s. Commercial mutton-birding declined after this time, with the last major season in 1975

IPA funding is helping Traditional Owners remove highly invasive boxthorn by cutting, poisoning and burning it. On Chappell Island they are replacing it with coastal tussock and boobialla. IPA funding also supports the regeneration of some of the island's native species such as island sea parsley, coastal bonefruit, pellitory and scrambling twin-leaf.

On Badger Island, IPA funding is helping to protect revegetation corridors and heritage sites from grazing animals, and supports a major revegetation program. Local seed is propagated in a small nursery on a nearby island, and newly planted stock helps to stabilise the soil and prevent erosion.

IPA projects on the islands focus on feral animal control, cultural heritage management, and the development of jetties and shelters to allow easier access for work teams, land managers, and visits by Traditional Owners. With Tasmania Parks and Wildlife assistance, the local community hopes to increase mutton-bird rookeries on Chappell Island.

The two IPAs are managed in line with the following International Union for Conservation of Nature category:

Download the Mount Chappell Island and Badger Island Indigenous Protected Areas - fact sheet (PDF - 719KB)