Martu lands have significant conservation values globally, nationally and locally.  Martu lands are part of the most intact arid ecosystem anywhere in the world and provide one of the last wild havens for some of Australia’s iconic but highly threatened desert species, including the bilby, marsupial mole and the great desert skink.

Ongoing land management by the Martu people, especially of the maintenance of traditional hunting and fire-burning practices, and the fact that the the determination is over unallocated Crown land which has generally not been impacted by other land uses, such as pastoral activities, means that habitat quality is exceptionally high compared with other Australian arid lands.  Consequently, the fauna and flora of the Martu lands are largely intact, and include 19 fauna and 16 plant species of international, national or state significance.

Read below more about the threatened desert species found on Martu land.

Langamarlu (mulgara) are carnivorous marsupials that build complex burrows in sandy dune slopes and sand plains. There are two species of langamarlu that live in Martu country – the Brush-tailed Mulgara and the Crest-tailed Mulgara.

Photo Judy Dunlop Parks and Wildlife

Mankarr (bilbies) once lived in arid and semi-arid regions throughout most of Australia, but are now confined to the deserts of central Australia and south-western Queensland. They live in a range of habitats, from clay and stony soils with little vegetation, to sandy soils with spinifex and Acacia shrubland.

Mulyamiji (great desert skink) live communally in burrow systems and have a distinctive ‘latrine’ or toilet. They are especially susceptible to inappropriate fire regimes since traditional patch burning has ceased across large parts of central Australia.

Photo courtesy Fiona Walsh CSIRO

Kakarratul (marsupial mole) are very hard to find, but they are still thought to be distributed across central Australia, particularly in sand dunes and the sandy soils of river flats where they can dig tunnels for food and shelter.

Photo courtesy Joe Benshemesh


Warru (black flanked rock wallaby) were once found across a large area of WA, from the arid Pilbara and Kimberley to the south coast, including the Swan River. They are now confined to a few isolated rocky ranges. They use caves and crevasses amongst the rocks to shelter during the day.