FOCUS SPECIES

Bush Stone-curlew

Conservation status: Threatened

Banner image, Bush Stone-curlew at Mt Rothwell. Photo by Majell Backhausen

Odonata has established a successful captive-breeding colony of Bush Stone-curlews at Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, which is closely supported by the Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species (FAME). Established in 2019, the colony has seen significant growth very quickly, having recently grown to capacity. As of 2022, the Odonata team is preparing to release a number of these animals into new sanctuaries and the Mt Rothwell population is set to be a leading source population of Bush Stone-curlews for sanctuaries Australia. The success of this colony of animals builds on over 15 years of expertise in wildlife management from the Odonata on-ground team at Mt Rothwell, run by our Biodiversity Director, Annette Rypalski. Furthermore, Odonata's genetic management of the Bush Stone-curlew is informed by leading conservation geneticists and ecologists at Cesar, including member of Odonata's Science Advisory Group, Dr Andrew Weeks.

In the past, curlew releases by other organisations have faced a number of challenges that in turn resulted in low survival rates and, in many cases, the complete failure of the translocated population. The only successful translocation of this species has been at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, in Canberra, where there has been good rates of survival, breeding, and population persistence among curlews. Odonata has partnered with the team at Mulligans, creating a research team that will be responsible for integrating research and restoration; this team is comprised of the Capital Woodlands and Wetlands Trust, which manages the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary (MFWS), and the Mulligans Flat Goorooyarroo Woodland Experiment (MFGOWE).

The establishment of strategic captive breeding programs is critical to the survival of the Bush Stone-curlew. Odonata's next critical step is to release Bush Stone Curlews at Orana Park sanctuary in Central Victoria. Orana is owned by one of our main partners, Tiverton Agriculture Impact Fund (TAIF), who have dedicated valuable land on this property for threatened species protection. Currently, Orana has around 67ha of suitable Bush Stone Curlew roosting habitat, thus allowing the sanctuary to support approximately 10 family groups. There is additional suitable habitat outside the sanctuary, with a network of native vegetation corridors and remnant trees in the agricultural matrix.

Odonata is currently seeking funding to support the translocation of Bush Stone-curlews to our Orana Park Sanctuary.