Tourism & education
Project Eden provides a great opportunity to spread the conservation message and give the public a chance to experience the fantastic natural heritage of Australia. Our dedicated staff regularly give presentations about native fauna, feral threats and conservation management techniques to school children, university students and teachers. School holiday activities such as radio-tracking games and Meet the Bilby activities, as well as news articles, radio and television features, and the Return to Eden documentary bring Project Eden’s work to a wider audience and promote the natural wonders of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.
Viewing the wildlife of Project Eden in Francois Peron National Park
Are you interested in visiting Peron Peninsula and seeing first hand the changes Project Eden has made? Viewing the reintroduced wildlife isn’t easy and even though you may expect to see some of the rare and endangered mammals, unfortunately the chances of this are quite slim. Yes, they are there but because they are nocturnal, small and generally quite secretive, spotting them is difficult.
Emus are becoming increasingly
common on Peron Peninsula.
Goanna tracks in the red peron sand
What you are most likely to see if you travel through the park is a drastically different ecosystem than was present during the days of pastoralism. The vegetation has recovered markedly and the increase in wildlife has been quite spectacular. A patient 4WD journey can now reveal some of the increasingly common residents like the emu, euro, echidna, goanna, or thorny devil, and a myriad of other reptiles including the rare woma python. Not to mention the profusion of bird life. Malleefowl are one of the reintroduced species that can be relatively easily seen and an early morning drive through the park may reveal one crossing a 4WD track and disappearing into the undergrowth. Other birds such as the nationally endangered thick-billed grasswren, and migratory waders dotting the coastal margins, attract many international bird watchers to the area.
Another way to ‘see’ the terrestrial wildlife of Shark Bay, is to leave your car and wander a short way off the edge of the 4WD tracks to look for animal tracks in the soft sand. After rain or a strong wind, fresh tracks of many animals can be clearly seen in the sand, and you can ‘read’ the whole story of life in the bush that has passed by. Prints of small animals like spinifex hopping-mice, birds, snakes, thorny devils, goannas, dragons and echidna are all there to see alongside the bigger animals like rabbits, emus, euros, malleefowl and bilbies if you know what to look for. With some practice, you can often even tell what they were doing at the time (eg walking, foraging, running). A good way to start recognising some of the larger animals, is to use the field guide ‘Tracks, Scats and Other Traces’ by Barbara Triggs, but you will learn most by getting out there on the ground, and stopping to have a look what tracks are left behind, when you see a lizard or bird pass by.
The area around the old Peron Station homestead is only a short drive off the main Monkey Mia road, and has excellent examples of acacia shrubland teeming with bird life. A quiet walk near dusk around the homestead’s small waterhole will often reveal emus, crested pigeons, birds of prey and even goanna. Here, there is also a visually spectacular visitor centre, which graphically displays the history of the area and the dramatic differences between the land during the pastoral era and the natural, undisturbed ecosystem.
Goannas and other reptiles are now much more
since foxes have been removed
from the Peninsula
For more details on how to get to Francois Peron National Park, activities available and highlights click here
Whilst Project Eden has seen many successes and the future looks particularly bright, the profile of the project amongst the broader public remains quite low. There are excellent opportunities to take the project to the broader community through an expanded education or ecotourism program.
A proposal by the Department of Environment and Conservation to construct a nocturnal viewing facility would provide an opportunity for visitors to view the successes and aspirations of Project Eden. The many shy and nocturnal species reintroduced to the peninsula as part of the project are almost impossible for the general public to view and a facility for easily viewing these species would give the public a greater appreciation of our wonderful natural heritage. Greater knowledge and understanding will only encourage an engagement with, and appreciation of this integral part of Australia's heritage and landscape, that is often a challenge to get to know and love.