Martu are the Traditional Owners of the Western Desert region in Western Australia, which comprises parts of the Great Sandy, Little Sandy and Gibson Deserts. The Western Desert Martu Ranger Programme, supported by Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), is delivered through four ranger teams working across 6.5 million hectares of Indigenous land.
The programme delivers a range of environmental outcomes including weed and feral animal control, fire and cultural heritage management and the conservation of threatened species such as the black-footed rock wallaby, greater bilby, mulgara and marsupial mole.
The rangers also work closely with schools and communities to spread the word about the programme.
The Jigalong Rangers work with community members on natural and cultural resource management activities such as water management, mosaic burning of country, weed management and feral animal control. The use of helicopters enables the rangers to access, map and manage country that is not easily accessible to Martu.
Their work also involves collaboration with Western Australian Government to protect the black-footed rock wallaby, or warru as known by Martu. The rangers are involved in predator control and monitoring activities such as trapping and microchipping of warru. The team is also responsible for tourism management activities such as Canning Stock Route permit compliance checks and the provision of visitor information.
Parnngurr Men's Ranger Team
The Parnngurr Men’s Ranger Team works with the rest of the community to look after country east of Parnngurr. They are employed to deliver water management, fire management and weed management activities.
This team is highly praised by the community for opening access to country that Martu have not been able to visit for a long time. Ranger community engagement activities continue to facilitate transfer of Indigenous ecological knowledge and provide younger community members with on-the-job training.
Parnngurr Women's Ranger Team
The Parnngurr Women’s Ranger Team relies heavily on traditional ecological knowledge to undertake fauna monitoring. The women follow a ‘track based’ monitoring methodology to locate threatened fauna species and Cybertracker software to record their location. Sensor cameras have also been used to record images and footage of these species. The women rangers are looking into the management of some of these sites using a combination of both Martu and contemporary ways.
Women also conduct waru (fire) work, water monitoring and assist with the yintakaja (waterhole) mapping programme, kalyuku ninti (return to country) trips and taking school children out on to country.
The Punmu Rangers are the latest of the Martu teams to commence operation. Since its inception the team has travelled in all directions from Punmu in order for the younger rangers to better familiarise themselves with the country they manage.
Aerial mapping, burning of country and management of water points has been a top priority for this team. The community continues to play an active role in ranger planning processes.