Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

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Government recognises outstanding Trust staff

A Public Service Medal has been awarded to Trust staffer Clarence Slockee for improving community knowledge of Aboriginal culture and mentoring Aboriginal staff. John Martin has received a Parliamentary commendation for his role in a team overseeing the Cockatoo Wingtags Project.

On Wednesday, 9 May 2012 Clarence Slockee received a Public Service Medal from Her Excellency Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of NSW, for his work with the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust improving community knowledge of Aboriginal culture and mentoring Aboriginal staff within the Office of Environment and Heritage.

A Parliamentary commendation was given to Trust staff member John Martin as part of the team overseeing the Cockatoo Wingtags Project. Also commended were Adrian Davis from the University of Sydney and Dr Charlotte Taylor from the University of Sydney, for their initiative and work on this excellent scientific project.

The University of Sydney is currently undertaking a project assessing population size, site loyalty and movements of urban sulphur-crested cockatoos, known as Cacatua galerita, aiming to increase understanding of the ecology of these native birds, ensure the conservation of these birds and their habitat into the future, and promote the importance of urban wildlife within cities.

John Martin from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Mr Adrian Davis from the University of Sydney and Dr Charlotte Taylor from the University of Sydney commenced the project in October 2011.

Attaching individually numbered tags to the birds enables the scientists to assess the population size of the flock within the Royal Botanic Garden, their loyalty to the site and their movements within, and potentially beyond the Sydney region, and also investigate breeding behaviour. Despite being large in number and having an affinity for human interaction, there is little scientific information known about the sulphur-crested cockatoo, particularly within urban environments.

Early data suggests that site loyalty to the Royal Botanic Garden seems to be high, the majority of the cockatoos are frequently sighted within the Garden or in the surrounding suburbs of Potts Point and Woolloomooloo. Several cockatoos are regularly seen in Mosman and there have also been reports of sightings from Revesby and Como.

This is the first project ever undertaken in tagging and monitoring sulphur-crested cockatoos in Sydney and to date, 33 cockatoos have been tagged and released within the Royal Botanic Garden. There have been over 400 community reports via the project's dedicated email address and Facebook page, and an iPhone application of their movements has recently been developed.

There is overwhelming community interest in the project which currently has over 880 members of the community following the progress of the cockatoos via Facebook and the phone application.

 

 

Clarence-Slockee

John-Martin-on left

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