Vessel named in honour of whale rescue pioneer

A new vessel has today been named after the late Doug Coughran, a Western Australian wildlife officer who dedicated much of his life to developing whale rescue techniques that have been instrumental in improving outcomes for entangled whales.

These techniques pioneered by Doug are not only practised in WA but around the world.

In 2010, Doug's achievements over three decades were formally recognised when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to conservation and the environment, particularly the disentanglement of whales, as both a practitioner and educator.

The 10.5-metre vessel will replace three boats currently used by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and will be tasked with responding to marine mammal incidents, managing the commercial whale watching industry and carrying out marine park, riverpark and island patrol duties.

 

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World record feral cat eradication for Dirk Hartog Island

Dirk Hartog Island National Park, off Western Australia's Mid-West coast, has become the world's largest island to have cats, sheep and goats fully eradicated, paving the way for extensive threatened animal re-introductions over the next 12 years.

Announcing the second stage of the groundbreaking 'Return to 1616' ecological restoration program, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson today declared the 63,000-hectare island cat, goat and sheep-free.

Dirk Hartog Island is the State's largest island and is home to the first known European landing on WA soil by Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog and his crew in 1616.

Since the introduction of grazing animals, cats and weeds, 10 native mammal species have been lost from the island. More than 5,000 sheep and 11,000 goats have now been removed, resulting in improved vegetation and habitat for native species.

Following extensive baiting, trapping and monitoring, no feral cats have been detected on the island since October 2016, making it the world's largest island-based feral cat eradication project.

 

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Milestone for Kalbarri Skywalk project

The completion of the world-class Kalbarri Skywalk project is one step closer, with the contract to construct two skywalks awarded to Bocol Constructions Pty Ltd.

The two 100-metre-high skywalks at the West Loop site in Kalbarri National Park will project 25 metres and 17 metres beyond the rim of the Murchison River Gorge, providing visitors with soaring views of the spectacular gorge and surrounding environment.

Construction of the skywalks is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

The $20 million project has also included the sealing of 22 kilometres of park roads, and the expansion and upgrading of the Z Bend and Meanarra Hill tourist sites.

 

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Spring prescribed burning underway

Prescribed burning is now underway in areas surrounding Perth and across the south-west of the State to protect communities from devastating summer bushfires.

The Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions is using favourable spring conditions to undertake prescribed burns.

A mix of larger burns on forest areas and smaller burns closer to communities and townsites during spring will significantly reduce the threat and severity of devastating bushfires and help protect lives, infrastructure and biodiversity values.

Prescribed burning is highly dependent on suitable weather conditions, fuel moisture and a range of other factors to be undertaken safely.

 

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