Latest news

Posted on 12/01/2023 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Funding to help improve breeding success of endangered Fairy Tern seabirds

Phillip Island Nature Parks will embark on a $200,000 conservation project to support the recovery of the Critically Endangered Fairy Tern seabird population around Phillip Island.
Nature Parks staff and volunteers will partner with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation to improve and expand suitable breeding habitats for Fairy Terns, and install a series of cameras to monitor the species and to better respond to feral cats and other threats such as storm surges.
The project has received funding from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Nature Fund, which will complement co-investment from Phillip Island Nature Parks, the Penguin Foundation and Melbourne Water. Nature Parks Environment Ranger Brandan Zerafa said the work would centre around the Fairy Tern’s last known successful breeding site in Western Port and Port Phillip and will aim to secure a safe breeding site at Observation Point.
“The movement and breeding site selection of the Fairy Tern population is highly variable, and most breeding attempts fail,” Mr Zerafa said.
“Since 2016, the only successful breeding in the Western Port and Port Phillip was at our Observation Point on Phillip Island in 2019/20 when 31 Fairy Tern pairs fledged 49 chicks. Since then, there has been no successful breeding of Fairy Terns due to a number of factors including pest animals, weed infestation and human disturbance.
“It is our hope that this project will ensure the long-term breeding success of this critically endangered species.”
The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation will work with Nature Parks and BirdLife Australia to undertake weed removal, revegetation and participate in Fairy Tern monitoring on Country.
“The Fairy Tern is critically endangered in Victoria and its population has drastically declined in recent decades. The Bunurong Land Council Environment Team is looking forward to partnering on this important project to help secure Observation Point as a safe haven for the Fairy Terns,” said Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation Land and Environment Manager, Shani Blyth.
The Fairy Tern project is one of 16 projects across the state to improve outcomes for the state’s most threatened species.
Other projects supported by the latest Nature Fund announcement include habitat improvements for critically endangered Major Mitchell’s cockatoos in Wyperfeld National Park and restoring habitat for the endangered Central Victorian ant-blue butterfly.