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Barking up the right trees - saving the barking owl

A project to improve habitat to benefit the threatened barking owl on a Travelling Stock Route (TSR) near Dubbo is the focus of a community information day next week.

Attendees at the information day will hear about how targeted landholders near the Goonoo and Talbragar River areas in the Central West have participated in on-ground activities that protect and improve habitat for prey species of the barking owl and remove threats including invasive weeds, foxes and pigs.

Central West land services officer Libby McIntyre said landholders and the broader community were invited to come along to Saxa TSR on Wednesday November 1 and hear how they can help.

“The barking owl project, by Central West Local Land Services in partnership with staff from the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program, is aimed at restoring habitat to assist one of our area’s most beloved bird species.

“As part of the project, artificial hollows – a relatively new method of increasing available habitat for birds and small mammal species, are being put in place in the Saxa TSR between Dubbo and Mudgee.

“Replacing lost hollows is really important for barking owls, as they provide a home for the small animals it eats,” Ms McIntyre said.

OEH Senior Threatened Species Officer Todd Soderquist said barking owl populations in NSW have crashed by 90% over the past century and are continuing to decline.

“The barking owl is listed as vulnerable in NSW and requires around 2-3,000 hectares of habitat, including old trees with adequate hollows in which the owls prey animals such as sugar gliders and small birds can nest.

“The North West Slopes and Central West regions have one of the largest remnant populations of barking owls and we can help secure it with relatively minor habitat improvements.

“For those who haven't heard a barking owl, they do sound very much like a barking dog,” Dr Soderquist said.

The project has already seen the fencing out of 35.50 hectares of riverine corridors from stock access along the Talbragar River, installation of off-river watering points and control of feral pests and weeds to protect natural regeneration of trees and shrubs.

For further information about the project or to register your interest in attending the information day, please contact Libby McIntyre on libby.mcintyre@lls.nsw.gov.au or 0429 019 309.

ENDS

Media contact: Fiona Townsend, Ph. 0428 284 252 E. fiona.townsend@lls.nsw.gov.au