The Djurrubu Rangers is a group of young Bininj (Aboriginal people) providing professional land management services across the Kakadu region. The group is a social enterprise established by Gundjeihmi engaging local culture, identity and practive to provide employment and training for local youth.
The Rangers are active in the following areas:
- fire, weed and feral animal management
- road and track maintenance
- monitoring and patrolling
- rock art conservation, monitoring and maintenance
- operational maintenance and repair of machinery and equipment and
- practical, work-based numeracy and literacy.
The Djurrubu Rangers train Bininj youth to Certificate II and Certificate III level in Conservation and Land Management through Charles Darwin University. The program includes both practical, on-country and classroom based activities. At the conclusion of the program, participants are employed either within Djurrubu or supported to transfer their land management skills to employment with Kakadu National Park or other training and employment opportunities in the area.
Weevil project success
In the area of weed management the Rangers, working in partnership with NT government staff, have had great success breeding salvinia weevils for release into Kakadu waterways. The weevils are an effective biological control for the destructive and highly invasive weed Salivina molesta which is causing immense damage to rivers and billabongs across the Top End.
The Djurrubu weevil breeding program has produced enough of the insects to ensure this season's Kakadu release is the largest ever, prompting weed management experts to predict a dramatic impact on salvinia infestations within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park. This biological method has been successful in controlling salvinia in the Daly River, Papua New Guinea and parts of New South Wales and is most effective in warmer climates.
The collaboration between NT government staff, Kakadu National Park and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has had multiple positive outcomes and is a testimony to what can be achieved when government works with community.
To date the Djurrubu Rangers and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation have covered all costs associated with this weed management operation within Kakadu National Park and the next logical step is commercial contracts from Parks for traditional owners to continue weevil work as well as the chemical control of this devastating weed.