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Ngurrawaana Ranger Habitat Conservation

FNPW Project Focus:
Cultural heritage

Project Partners
FNPW & WA Department of Parks and Wildlife

Location
Pilbara, Western Australia

Thanks to Aurizon Community Giving Fund partnering with FNPW and providing $15,000 to a conservation project bringing together a team of local traditional owners with parks staff in order to help threatened species recovery in the Millstream Chichester National Park (MCNP).

This project is helping to control Stinking Passionflower, Passiflora foetida weed within parts of MCNP. Controlling the Stinking Passionflower will help to protect the Pilbara Olive Python's, Morelia olivaceus barroni breeding grounds and the Northern Quoll's, Dasyurus hallucatus habitat and food sources.

The Pilbara Olive Python is listed as Vulnerable under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) and as a species that is Rare or Likely to become Extinct under the Wildlife Conservation Act (1950). The Olive Python is culturally important to the Yindjibarndi people as a traditional food source and through mythological narratives and Law song cycles.

 

The Northern Quoll is Australia’s smallest quoll species and listed as “Endangered” under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). Both Olive Python and Northern Quoll habitat is restricted within the Pilbara region in Western Australia, amongst rocky escarpments and gorges next to permanent or semi-permanent waterholes and rivers. The Olive Python and Northern Quoll populations of the Pilbara are genetically and ecologically important because they are separated from more northern occurrences of these species.They conserve genetic diversity and may be less vulnerable to the spread of the introduced Cane Toad.

 

Stinking Passionflower is a scrambling vine that invades the habitat types utilised by Olive Pythons and Quolls. In these unique environments passionflower can create dense vine ‘mats’ at ground level or climb into vegetation, smothering understorey plants and providing fuel ladders for fires to reach into the canopies of trees. Passionflower has created a significant increase in flammable biomass, making wildfires far more destructive. It also greatly reduces invertebrate diversity and abundance which has the potential to reduce available insect prey for the Northern Quolls.

 

Stinking Passionflower is a climbing or scrambling vine with sticky hairs over most of the plant. Its stems produce tendrils from the bases of the alternately arranged leaves. Its leaves (3-10.5 cm long) usually have three rounded or pointed lobes, but sometimes they can be entire or five-lobed. Its flowers (3-5 cm across) vary from pinkish to white or purplish in colour and are borne singly in the leaf forks. Its yellow or orange fruit (1.5-4 cm long) are partially enclosed by the persistent, deeply-divided, sticky floral bracts.

Stinking Passionflower. Photo by J Brew