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Australian Parks

Astrebla Downs National Park

Astrebla Downs National Park

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Astrebla Downs National Park is situated in the vast Channel Country of outback Queensland, approximately 1298 km west of Brisbane. This expansive landscape is characterized by flat and barren terrain, sparsely adorned with trees. The average elevation of the park stands at 108 meters, contributing to its unique and arid environment.

Animals

The park garnered recognition from the WWF in March 2007, earning a spot among the top 10 reserves of the decade. This accolade was attributed to the successful conservation efforts aimed at protecting the bilby, an endangered mammal indigenous to Australia. By 2008, the park boasted an estimated bilby population of around 300 individuals. However, in 2009, the area faced a challenge as a plague of long-haired rats descended upon it. The abundance of rats attracted feral cats, posing a direct threat to the bilby population. Over the following decade, rigorous control measures were implemented, resulting in the elimination of more than 3,000 feral cats by 2021. A survey conducted in June 2021 revealed a promising sight, with 471 bilbies spotted in the park.

Beyond the bilby, Astrebla Downs is a refuge for the kowari, a diminutive carnivorous marsupial classified as a vulnerable species in Queensland. The kowari faces additional threats from feral cats. Notably, the park's significance was underscored in June 2021 when photographs of the kowari were captured during a survey, marking the first photographic documentation in a decade. A record number of 14 kowaris were observed in the park, a stark contrast to the absence of sightings in the nearby Diamantina National Park since 2012.

The park also hosts the stripe-faced dunnart, contributing to its role as a haven for unique and vulnerable wildlife.

Birds

Teaming up with Diamantina National Park, Astrebla Downs forms part of the expansive Diamantina and Astrebla Grasslands Important Bird Area, spanning 7,627 square kilometers. Recognized by BirdLife International, this area is notable for being one of the few sites known for the critically endangered night parrot. The park serves as a critical habitat for various bird species, including globally important populations of the plains-wanderer, Australian bustard, straw-necked ibis, white-necked heron, inland dotterel, Bourke's parrot, black and pied honeyeaters, gibberbird, Hall's babbler, chestnut-breasted quail-thrush, cinnamon quail-thrush, and spinifexbird. Astrebla Downs National Park stands as a vital sanctuary for the preservation of Australia's avian biodiversity.

 

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