Outback Australia - Kimberley
The Kimberley region of Australia is like nowhere else on Earth. Located in the northwest corner of the country, it has some of the most stunning and largest intact natural areas left on the planet.
The region's beauty is matched by its enormous diversity—deserts, sandstone gorges, mangroves, rainforests, savannahs and woodlands. Its marine environment is one of the last remaining large and healthy refuges for many threatened and endangered species such as sharks, dugong (a marine mammal), coastal dolphins, turtles and whales.
The Indigenous cultural values of the Kimberley are significant. Traditional Owners' ancient connections to the Kimberley continue strongly today. These unique connections as well as their intricate ecological and geographic knowledge of the region has developed over tens of thousands of years to provide them with an important cultural map of their country.
- The Kimberley's coastal waters are a "marine superhighway" for an estimated 22,000 humpback whales—the world's largest population—that make their way here each year to breed.
- Seventy-two native mammal species, 295 bird species, 178 reptile species and 51 amphibian species have been identified in the Kimberley.
- Northern Kimberley is the only region in the Australian state of Western Australia—and one of the few in the entire country—where extinctions of mammal species have not been recorded. The coastal waters of the Kimberley provide critical habitats for the newly discovered snub-fin dolphin and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles.
The region faces a number of serious pressures, including climate change, large wild fires, feral animals and weeds, cattle grazing degradation and development. Unless action is taken, these pressures will continue to intensify and lead to irreversible and widespread environmental degradation, with social and economic impacts and costs.
Very little of the Kimberley is currently protected. None of the Kimberley's waters within the Western Australian state boundaries are protected. Only approximately 12 percent of land in the region is managed for conservation.
We work with the Kimberley Land Council and Traditional Owners to secure an increase in the number of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) to roughly 25 million acres. The 2010 announcement by Western Australian Premier Barnett to create a new land reserve in the Kimberley has given us an opportunity to support that effort. We also work with conservation organizations to create comprehensive conservation and development plans for the Kimberley region, including major increases in the creation and funding for protected land and marine reserves.
Through our Like Nowhere Else effort, we are working with leading international and Australian conservation organizations for the long-term protection of the Kimberley's land and marine environments. Read our five point plan to protect the Kimberley.