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13 April 2010
A huge new protected area in South Australia's remote north will help protect one of the state's most endangered species - the warru or black-footed rock wallaby.
Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett congratulated traditional owners and Indigenous rangers from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands on today's declaration of the Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area.
"This spectacular landscape stretches from the Tomkinson and Mann ranges dominating the north-west to sand dune country in the south," Mr Garrett said.
"Today's declaration means 580,000 hectares of this country will be managed by its traditional owners for conservation. This is a significant addition to the National Reserve System.
"The ranges in the north provide a safe haven for one of the few remaining colonies of black-footed rock wallaby, with experts estimating only about 100 of the mammals are left.
"Rangers are working with the APY Land Management Unit in a Warru Recovery Team to secure the future of this culturally significant mammal.
"Today's declaration creates a significant conservation corridor of more than 12 million hectares across state borders, as Kalka-Pipalyatjara connects Ngaanyatjarra IPA in Western Australia and the Watarru IPA in South Australia.
"It joins 37 other declared Indigenous Protected Areas around the nation - 13 of which, covering more than 3 million hectares, have been announced in the last year alone.
"Indigenous Protected Areas are one of Australia's most successful conservation stories - protecting Australia's biodiversity while providing training and employment for Aboriginal people doing work to look after their own country."
Community leader and ranger Kenneth Ken said today's declaration would have a positive impact on the community's young people, particularly their health, education, training and job opportunities - all part of Closing the Gap.
"Young people do school in Adelaide - but they need something when back in country. With Kalka-Pipalyatjara we teach young people about bush, about what looking after country is," he said.
"We want to get school kids out there working on it too - teach younger people step by step, because that is the way they learn, to look after it.
"We need to look after the warru, nganamara (mallee fowl) and tjakura (great desert skink). We are starting land management because these might be dying out and we need to teach our kids."
For more on Indigenous Protected Areas visit www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/ipa