Martu travel over 500km to bilby festival
Twelve Martu women, KJ staff member Tracy Carboon and Dr Anja Skroblin from the University of Melbourne travelled over 500km to attend the three-day bilby festival in Kiwirrkurra. This festival was the first of its kind in Australia.
Over 120 Indigenous rangers from more than 20 different ranger groups, scientists and government representatives came together to:
• share ideas and experiences on working with bilbies;
• celebrate the cultural significance of the bilby; and
• hear about the latest scientific research about bilbies and their threats.
For most of the women, it was the first time attending such an event. They gave a presentation on what work KJ has done to look after the bilby and participated in a number of discussion groups. It was a great opportunity to share stories of what the Martu rangers have done and a chance for the younger women to practice their public speaking. Some of the other ranger teams said that it was really great to see so many young women rangers coming from Martu country.
Martu enjoyed hearing the stories from other rangers and scientists and felt happy knowing that they are not alone in carrying out this important ranger work. The range of the bilby has shrunk by 80% with only small scattered populations now occurring across 1 million square kilometers of the Australian desert. These small populations are found in areas that are mainly Indigenous owned and managed. KJ’s ranger teams are undertaking very important work by looking after this threatened species. It is a high priority task as scientists and ecologists view Martu country as having some of the last strongholds for the bilby.