Gluepot Reserve, Birds Australia Conservation Reserve, South Australia

Gluepot Reserve is 64km north of the town of Waikerie in the Riverland district of South Australia. The Reserve was established by Birds Australia (formerly the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) and is a publicly funded Reserve. Gluepot has protection under a South Australian Heritage Agreement, and is the largest land area in SA protected by a Heritage Agreement. The Reserve also protected by Commonwealth law as part of National Reserve.

The reserve covers 54,390 hectares in the semi-arid South Australian mallee scrub. The Reserve is part of the biggest tract of mallee remaining in Australia, and is an important conservation area for mallee plants and animals. Since it was purchased in 1997, it has become a scientific research centre, and attracts birdwatchers to observe rarely seen species. Gluepot Reserve is at the forefront of conservation management, and is a model showing that use of land for scientific research, environmental education and ecotourism is viable and sustainable.

Considerable effort has gone into developing the facilities at the Reserve. Buildings were renovated and new accommodation built for Ranger volunteers and student researchers. There is a Visitor Centre and an Environmental Education Centre (formerly an old shearing) with kitchen and a dining room. A weather station, solar power, and new communications were installed including radio, phone, internet and new computer system.

The Reserve has a network of fourteen walking trails. There are four camping grounds in some of the best birding areas. Five bird hides overlook bird watering sites at various locations on the Reserve. Almost two hundred species of birds have been recorded at Gluepot including the nationally threatened Malleefowl, Regent Parrot, Red-lored Whistler and Black-eared Miner. Eighteen threatened bird species are found on the Reserve, along with over fifty species of reptiles and a dozen species of bats.

To reduce the numbers of goats and kangaroos on the reserve, sixteen dams were shut down and the remaining two dams were fenced off to keep out herbivores. This dam closure has allowed the natural vegetation to regenerate, with reduced goat and kangaroo populations. The native birds from the Mallee are not impacted to a great extent by the dam reduction as their native habitat has little surface water.

The Reserve is staffed by Volunteer Rangers from all over Australia and also overseas. Most of the visitors that come to the Reserve are conservationists, birdwatchers and environmentalists. The Reserve was one of the first ecotourism attractions in South Australia to achieve National Tourism Accreditation and Advanced Eco Certification.

There are a range of opportunities at Gluepot Reserve for volunteers from staying a day or two helping with research tasks, to spending a few months as a volunteer Ranger. For more information, visit the Gluepot Reserve website.

Related posts:

  1. Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle, New South Wales
  2. Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island
  3. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Australian Capital Territory
  4. Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary, Adelaide, South Australia
  5. Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park, Taranna, Tasmania

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