Marine Reserves surrounding Australia are teeming with wildlife.
But the ocean environment has changed and many species are struggling to adapt. Disturbance from seismic and defence operations, vessel collision, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, plastic debris, over-fishing, oil spills and dumping of industrial waste have combined to put enormous pressure on habitat and food sources for marine animals, large and small.
Marine wildlife face the same level of threats as wildlife that live on land and many species are now listed as vulnerable.
Marine animals can be elusive and difficult to study, but thanks to community donations, FNPW has provided crucial grants to help protect and research marine species that are facing escalating threats.
Each year, dwarf minke whales migrate south from the Great Barrier Reef through Tasmanian waters to feed in the Southern Ocean. For the juvenile whales, this first journey through an unfamiliar area can be fraught with danger.
On September 2nd this year, one of these whales became stranded on rocks near Bicheno on the east coast of Tasmania. It needed immediate help. Thanks to funds from FNPW’s Marine Wildlife Fund and our supporters, the Marine Conservation Program staff were able to respond quickly – flying a biologist to the area to urgently assess the stranded whale and put the rescue into action.
More whales and dolphins strand on Tasmanian beaches than any other place in Australia. They are often not saved in time. This dwarf minke was one of the lucky ones.
This project is a vital part of the puzzle. But more – much more – needs to be done.
A successful rescue needs quick action and that was exactly what happened.
This story had a happy ending. But not every marine animal is so lucky.
Populations of Little Penguins are facing serious decline. On Granite Island in South Australia, numbers have fallen from 1548 in 2001 to just 22 in 2015.
Determining the reasons can be challenging. Penguins come and go and can be tricky to monitor. FNPW has funded bioacoustics recorders so vital accurate data can be collected and contributed to the Little Penguin Conservation Project.
Your contribution is an investment in the future of our native animals – and in the future we want, for generations of Australians to come.
Since 2001, the Granite Island penguins have been monitored by human and video surveys, involving over 150 volunteers in just the last 3 years. But the reason for the rapidly declining numbers have still not been determined – data from the recorders is expected to help provide the missing clues and ensure penguin conservation strategies in the area will be effective.
The nightly activities of Little Penguins in Western Australia have also been under the microscope. The aptly named Penguin Island is home to a group of penguins that nest on the island, spending their days out foraging for food and returning to the beach at night. FNPW funded an increase in infrared lighting, video storage and an online database to monitor the numbers of penguins returning each night, and from year to year.
These are just some of the Marine Grant projects that have been successfully achieved. Penguin projects are vital to help ensure effective conservation management of their habitat and identify early signs of declining populations. Both these projects also raise public awareness by engaging the community through volunteering, citizen science and school and university education.
Effective marine wildlife conservation requires specialist expertise and ongoing financial resources. Funding from our committed supporters makes this possible.
Thank you for your commitment to conserving Australia’s native plants and wildlife. We could not do it without you.
CEO - Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.
“Thank you for the support from the FNPW– which made it possible for me to fly directly from Hobart to coordinate the successful rescue effort. It is crucial for an MCP biologist to get to the site as quickly as possible to rapidly assess animal condition and refloat options. It is funding from donors like you that makes this possible. Thank you.” Dr. Rachael Alderman, Team Leader - Marine Conservation Program (MCP)