People can now see what they can explore in WA’s spectacular national parks and reserves - all from the comfort of their own home.
Two new digital media initiatives – DISCOVR WA and Park Explorers – encourage people to venture outdoors and experience all that the State’s natural attractions have to offer.
Through DISCOVR WA and Park Explorers people can now access glimpses into real holiday experiences that are occurring throughout WA.
The DISCOVR WA app lets people immerse themselves in 3D imagery of national parks, providing virtual reality tours of a range of natural areas in the State. Park Explorers is a new project which encourages people to share their experiences in natural areas by recording them and posting them on social media channels.
Parks and Wildlife is currently seeking interested social media users to become Park Explorers, with selected travellers being loaned video and photographic equipment to capture their moments on holidays, as well as itineraries, park passes and free access to campgrounds.
For more information and to register as a Park Explorer please visit parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/parkexplorers
The Liberal National Government is forging ahead with its commitment to decentralise public sector agencies, with development starting soon on the new Department of Parks and Wildlife headquarters in Bunbury.
Premier Colin Barnett, on site in Bunbury today, said although decentralisation had been talked about for the past 30 years, very little had actually been done by previous governments to deliver such an outcome for regional communities.
"The relocation of parts of the public service, in this case Parks and Wildlife headquarters to Bunbury, will attract new investment and skills to the region and provide ongoing economic and social benefits," Mr Barnett said.
"The move will initially see 100 staff from Parks and Wildlife located in the new development, generating more than $25 million per year for the local economy, with plans for the number of staff to increase to 300 within 10 years."
Park rangers have recorded dozens of endangered olive ridley turtle hatchlings emerging from their nest in the Kimberley, a first for Western Australia.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the discovery had generated a lot of excitement among marine scientists and the Dambimangari traditional owners of the area because the species was rarely seen in WA.
Mr Jacob said a joint patrol of Department of Parks and Wildlife staff and Dambimangari rangers came across the nest while removing marine debris from a beach near Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park, 300km north-east of Broome.
The department's marine ranger Cameron Smith recorded the event with Dambimangari traditional owner Kieran Bangmorra.
"This species has never before been filmed in WA and rarely anywhere else in Australia," the Minister said.
"An event of this nature reinforces the importance of marine parks, which is why the Liberal National Government has made an unprecedented $103.6 million investment in the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy. Under this strategy, the State Government is creating WA's biggest network of new marine parks to protect threatened species.
"It has only recently been discovered that olive ridley turtles nest in WA and they have never before been recorded from the beach where they were filmed.
"They are extremely scarce, so to witness this hatchling event is significant and helps to increase scientists' understanding of the species in Australia."
The olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the smallest of Australia's sea turtles and only grows to about 70 centimetres long.
Recently an adult olive ridley turtle in poor health was found in the proposed Yawuru Nagulagun/Roebuck Bay Marine Park near Broome. After rehabilitation at Broome's Chelonia Centre, it was released into the wild with a satellite tracking device attached to its shell.
It is the first olive ridley turtle to be tracked in Western Australian waters. To follow the turtle's journey, visit http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=158116
Minister's office - 6552 5800
The Landscape Conservation Initiative—the largest conservation project ever undertaken in Western Australia—was established in 2011 as part of the State Government’s $81.5 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, to retain and enhance the high biodiversity and landscape values in the north Kimberley.
This visionary project is being implemented by the Department of Parks and Wildlife in collaboration with native title holders and Indigenous ranger groups, government agencies, non-government organisations and pastoralists to protect biodiversity values across property boundaries in the north and central Kimberley. Together, these partners are managing fire; the impacts of feral animals; and the impacts of invasive plants across an area of more than 65,000 square kilometres (6.5 million hectares) that includes pastoral properties, Aboriginal Lands Trust Reserves, private conservation areas and parks and reserves managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife
Key achievements of the Landscape Conservation Initiative to date