Serpentine’s national cockatoo rescue

Serpentine’s national cockatoo rescue

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Australian Defence Force personnel load the 112 nesting boxes into a truck bound for the eastern states. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

More than 100 specially designed nesting boxes have made the 4000 kilometre trip from Serpentine to the eastern states to aid in the recovery of the endangered glossy black-cockatoo.

Australian Defence Force personnel arrived in Serpentine late last week to transport the nesting boxes, called ‘cockatubes’, to Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Victoria and southern Queensland where it is believed that up to 75 per cent of the cockatoo’s habitat has been decimated by this year’s catastrophic bushfire season.

The final product was the culmination of several months of hardwork involving up to 70 people, most of which were local residents.

The effort was supported by generous community donations as well as the support of 10 local businesses.

The project was one particularly close to the heart of Australian Defence Force operations officer lieutenant Amy Beal, who was part of the recovery effort undertaken by Natural Resources Kangaroo Island and the South Australian Department of Environment more than two decades ago.

As a teenager, lieutenant Beal travelled to Kangaroo Island with her high school annually to plant thousands of trees and enhance the population of just 158 cockatoos – blissfully unaware that she would return with the national defence force some 19 years later.

Upon arriving in Serpentine, lieutenant Beal said she had been taken aback by the way in which everything had come full circle.

“It’s weird how everything comes back,” she said.

“I’ve moved away from South Australia, I joined the Navy 10 years ago as a logistics officer and I had no idea that I’d have the opportunity to get involved with this again.

“When Francis [Landcare] gave us a call and we were formally asked to assist through the Defence Force, I sat back and said ‘Hold on, there’s a link here – and a pretty strong one’.”

Immediately, lieutenant Beal said she contacted her parents who were flabbergasted by the coincidence.

“I rang my parents and my Mum was just flabbergasted that it had turned out this way, that I can continue to give back two decades later,” she said.

“It’s pretty surreal.

“I love my job. I couldn’t think of a better job.

“I have had members of my family in the Defence Force, but I’m the first to be in the Navy itself.

“My daughter has just joined, too.

“A lot of people put their hand up today to be part of this project.

“It’s great to do something for the community, particularly for something that is way bigger than us.”

Landcare Serpentine Jarrahdale executive officer Francis Smit said it had been a huge effort to get to this point and extended thanks to all those that had made the project a success.