The Shark Bay area is significant to Aboriginal people because of their long history of use and occupation, and because of their cultural obligations to understand and care for the area. Caring for country is about protecting important sites and the connections between sites, people and environment.
The ties Aboriginal groups have to land are recognised by Native Title, a form of land title determined by the court upon application by indigenous people. There are three active native title claims in Shark Bay, those of the Malgana, Nhanda and Gnulli Aboriginal peoples.
The Parks and Wildlife Service acknowledges the understanding and ties of Aboriginal people to their lands and the potential mutual benefits for conservation of working together with Aboriginal people to care for the land.
In Shark Bay, Parks and Wildlife and the Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation have collaborated on several conservation management projects with numerous benefits. Yadgalah represents local Malgana people and collaborative projects include a major Dirk Hartog Island cleanup funded by CoastWest, dugong and turtle research projects; and interpretive projects. Yadgalah also ensured Malgana representation on the Community Advisory Committee revising the Shark Bay Terrestrial Reserves Management Plan.
Community benefits from this collaboration include improving understanding of Aboriginal culture; providing employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people; and enabling traditional hunting and cultural practices.
Learn some of the local Malgana language.