The Big Island rehabilitation team has been awarded $118,677 through the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund towards their bush regeneration project on the Island. The project, run by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Berrim Nuru Aboriginal Environmental Services, is protecting burrowing seabirds including Little Penguins and Shearwaters. These birds nest on the Five Islands Nature Reserve throughout the year, but unfortunately weed species such as kikuyu grass and coastal morning glory interfere with underground burrows used by both the seabirds. In some cases, the weeds entangle the birds and prevent them from leaving their burrows.
Dr Rowena Morris, Ranger with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, said that with this grant, the team will be able to expand their rehabilitation work to cover an additional 1.2 hectare site. In the coming months, NPWS will be using a helicopter to spray the weeds. The on ground work by Berrim Nuru will help ensure the weeds stay away ready for the planting of seedlings in both winter 2017 and 2018 when the seabirds are no longer nesting. We look forward to the return of Little Penguins and Shearwaters (also known as mutton birds) after the work is complete.