Our rangers work hard to conserve the plants, animals, culture and landscapes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. We use a combination of traditional knowledge and western science to achieve the best results for country and culture.
Mala - caring for culture and country
A long time ago, our ancestors, the Mala (rufous-hare wallaby) people travelled to Uluru from the north.
The mala found themselves having to flee kurpany, an evil dog-like creature that had been created and sent from Kikingkura (near the Western Australian border). Their journey is written across our land as a songline. These important ancestors have left another legacy - to look after the animal we today call mala (rufous-hare wallaby).
These mala once inhabited spinifex grass country throughout Central Australia. Today they are extinct in the wild, driven out by European settlement, changing fire regimes and feral predators.
Since 2005 we've been running a mala (rufous-hare wallaby) reintroduction program inside our park. We constructed an 170-hectare feral proof enclosure to house 25 of the endangered animals in the hope they would breed and contribute to the long-term survival of the species.
Today we have around 200 mala in the park, quite a healthy and robust community. It's a good example of how we are working to protect our cultural and natural heritage.
Fire - two-way working
Fires and burning have been part of our lives and country for thousands of years. Burning is an important part of our park management - many of our plants rely on fire to regenerate. Fire encourages bush foods to grow and flushes out game. Burning also reduces fuel loads, preventing the risk of large wildfires.
Traditional burning of our country began with the ancestral beings. Lungkata (blue-tongued lizard ancestral being) burned spinifex as he travelled towards Uluru from the north.
Until the Europeans came, traditional patch burning left a pattern of burnt and unburnt terrain similar to a mosaic. Unfortunately burning stopped when many traditional owners were removed from the region in the 1930s.
We quickly saw the result of having no fire regime in place. During the 1940s rainfall was good and plants flourished. In 1950 a fire fed by fuel from the previous 20 years burnt about a third of the park's vegetation. Again in 1976 two fires burnt out about 76 per cent of the park.
Park managers realised a new approach to fire management was required. They approached traditional owners for advice and tuition. Together they developed a system of patch burnings for use in the park.
Today this burning regime continues, rangers guided by traditional owners, using knowledge and western science to improve the health of the park.