Kakadu National Park Aublyn Acebedo 9GC By: Aublyn Acebedo 9GC
Kakadu National Park • Kakadu National Park is the second largest national park in the world. • Situated in the Northern Territory, it covers an area of approximately 20,000 square kilometers. • The major landforms and habitats in the park include an entire tropical river, savannah woodlands, open forests, rivers and creeks, floodplains, mangroves and mudflats. • The Park is one of only 17 places that have been given a World Heritage listing for both natural and cultural aspects. Kakadu National Park is managed by Parks Australia and the traditional owners of the landand it has also become a popular tourist destination with over 212,000 visitors a year. • The name Kakadu comes from the word ‘Gagudju’. This is the name of one of the languages spoken by aboriginal people.
Native Flora and Fauna Flora: Kakadu's flora is among the richest in Northern Australia. More than 1700 plant species are recorded. This richness is a result of the Park's geological landform and habitat diversity. Kakadu is also considered to be one of the most weed free national parks in the world . Only 5.7 per cent of recorded species are categorized as weeds. Fauna: Kakadu is home to 68 mammals, more than 120 reptiles, 26 frogs, over 300 tidal and freshwater fish species and over 10,000 species of insects. It provides habitat for more than 290 bird species. Its internationally important wetlands are a major staging point for migratory birds. • Flora nourishes Kakadu’s National Park as it is being consumed by insects, birds and reptiles. A cycle in which the insects eat the plants and the birds eat the insects has been going on for decades and decadesand helps the ecosystem. • With the combination of flora and fauna, they both provide a secure ecosystem for the National Park.
Analysis of Introduced Species Feral animals in Kakadu have been introduced by non-Aboriginal people. These animals were native to another country and now live and breed in the park. The feral animals in Kakadu’s National Park include: • Asian water buffalo cattle, pigs, horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, rats, mice, house geckos, European bees and cane toads. • Some animal species in the park are rare, endangered or not found anywhere else in the world. • Overall, Kakadu consists of one of the most unique flora and fauna you will ever come by in the whole world. These Flora and Fauna species are only to be found within Australia’s Kakadu National Park. Unfortunately, some of them are near extinction due to some fauna diseases spreading rapidly throughout the whole park.
Damages caused by introduced species There have been a lot of Flora and Fauna species that have been introduced into Kakadu’s National park, which have also been seen to have a negative effect on the environmental cycle. These include: • Aggressive fauna such as Mimosa pigrawhich is a prickly shrub that has taken over floodplains, covering an estimate of 80,000 hectares of the top end of the Northern Territory. It has caused a huge problem, this is stopping wildlife birds from collecting food and threatens the wildlife nature itself. • Salviniamolesta, is a floating aquatic fern, originally from South America. It has infested several creeks in the National Park and has covered several billabongs. This type of weed has effectively choked water bodies by reducing oxygen, raising hydrogen sulphide concentrations, lowering pH levels, raising water temperature and reducing the nutrient status of billabongs. • Feral animals such as Sus scrofa (pig) and Bubalus bubalis(Asian water buffalo) have caused a lot of damage to the wetlands, such as making the area much more defenseless against weeds and upsetting the natural balance of the area.
Sus scrofa (pig) Bubalus bubalis(Asian water buffalo) Salvinia molesta
Solutions to overcome Kakadu’s current Problems Solutions include: • Capturing the pests that have been destroying the wetlands, and dispatching them into a new location where the environment best suits them. It will help slow the breeding of the pests. • Killing the weeds by spraying weed destroyers. • Placing hidden food traps throughout the whole park to possibly speed up the process within catching the pest. • Gathering a group of people to help pull out the weeds, as a cheaper method. • Collecting some deadly fauna and observing them to see how they are rapidly spreading throughout the whole park. • Researching and finding out the causes of them spreading or even showing up in the first place.
Government Initiatives • Control methods such as capturing, shooting, fencing and applying traps have been organised by the government in order to stop the ongoing problems Kakadu National Park is facing. These methods should of helped solve the wild fauna and flora problem. • The government has also come together with the representatives of each state and territory of Australia to figure out a solution, on how to stop the wild introduced species from ruining Kakadu’s ecosystem. • Biological and conventional control methods have been applied to stop the spreading of diseases, parasites, pests and bacteria. • With the permission of the owners of Kakadu National Park, the government has been able to reduce the spreading of diseased fauna and flora by 4%.
Song For Awareness • www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfyBYfifCo4