Sustainable & Responsible
With the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Elder Range and Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, Arkaba’s 60,000 acre private wildlife conservancy is home to a wondrous array of native bird and wildlife and a remarkable conservation story.
Since 2009, Arkaba has been transformed from an outback sheep station with a rich pastoral heritage into a private wildlife conservancy where the true luxury of Arkaba is that guests enjoy the exclusive use of the 1850’s homestead, 60,000 acres of ancient and unique land and expert guiding. The experience allows guests to immerse themselves in the story of the bush – its ancient geology, diverse wildlife and, if they wish, opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with the conservation programs of the property.
Arkaba’s team of expert field guides live and breathe the bush. Through a combination of guided walks and open top safari drives, they can reveal the secrets of one of Australia’s most fascinating and spectacular landscapes – The Flinders Ranges. By sharing their passion for the environment in an insightful and respectful manner through their guest experiences, the Arkaba hosts endeavour to provide inspiration to their guests, leaving them with a sense of wonder, connection and custodianship for the beautiful yet fragile environment around them.
A myriad of successful conservation programs have been implemented since 2009 focusing on eradicating feral species and reversing the impacts of over a 100 years of livestock grazing.
Introduced species such as goats, rabbits cats and foxes have slowly been eradicated to try and reduce the impact on native wildlife.
Results as at May 2016 of ongoing work on Arkaba's conservation programs include:
2245 goats removed
358 foxes disappeared
212 feral cats no longer
Rabbits are next
11,471,950 litres of water saved (not consumed by feral animals)
14,339,937 kgs vegetation saved (land not eaten out by feral species)
4,369,050 native animals lived - assuming a conservative figure of 3 native animals consumed per day by both foxes and feral cats. (Note many conservationists have data to show that up to 18 native animals are killed, most unnecessarily, i.e. not for food, by one feral cat, each day.)
The re-emergence of almost lost species including macropods - yellow footed rock wallabies, birdlife - nightjars, native flora.
And, it has been possible to reintroduce Western Quoll and Common Brush Tailed Possum to their native habitat with significantly lowered risk of being killed off by non-native predators.
Guests are able to join one of Arkaba’s field guides one evening to track a radio collared feral cat or set up the trip cameras that monitor key sites across the property. Also heat and motion sensing cameras have been installed at areas frequented by wildlife to provide a more accurate idea of the various species in the area, particularly those that are nocturnal.
Numerous monitoring surveys have been conducted throughout the varying habitats on Arkaba, which have assisted in the eradication of invasive non-native plants and arresting of soil erosions. The next step will be to reintroduce additional native species, which will provide another rewarding conservancy experience for guests.
Through the sustainable and conservancy programs currently in place it is rewarding to see these initiatives are having a positive impact on the environment.
The removal of sheep in these newly formed Sanctuary Zones has allowed the populations of Red Kangaroo (Marcopus rufus) and Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) to flourish with increased sightings of both of these almost immediately. Along with daily sightings of with Euros (Macropus robustus), the country’s most endangered macropod, the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus), has also returned to Arkaba’s range since the introduction of active conservation programs.
There have been confirmed sightings of 10 new bird species including the Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis), Spotted Nightjars (Eurostopodus argus) and the Horsfields Bronze Cuckoo (Chalcites (chrysococcyx) basilis).
In the spring and summer there is significant evidence of established reptile colonies, including the intriguing Gidgee Skink (Egernia stokesii) who was first spotted in 2011.
In addition to the wildlife focus, each aspect of the property from energy usage to waste disposal, the choice of linen, recycling of bottles (i.e by filtering their own water and by not using plastic mineral water bottles) or the use of eco-certified cleaning materials has been carefully planned to minimise the properties impact on the land. The management team are constantly reviewing and improving their environmental strategies.
Arkaba has adopted a ‘buy local’ principle with its food and wine sourced entirely from South Australian producers and the chef working his own local touches to the menu. Their secret to inspiring environmental awareness through food is to have meals based on contemporary Australian cuisine with a few native elements to add unique intrigue and interest.
Wild Bush Luxury makes a firm commitment to the principles of sustainability and conservation while hosting guests in this ecologically unique environment. Above all their prime motivation for what they do is to open the minds of guests who stay with them through the activities the guides conduct in the environment. Through the interpretation of bush experiences, the active debate of topical environmental issues and through the day-to-day operations of the property. They hope that with continued success of their conservations programs they will see the biodiversity on Arkaba return as closely as possible to that before European settlement.
Wild Bush Luxury’s strong belief is that tourism should help foster conservation of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage and their rates include a contribution to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. This independent, non-profit organisation is dedicated to the conservation of Australia’s threatened wildlife and ecosystems. If you wish to learn more about this organisation and their work across Australia please click here.