Rio Tinto to build a nest of information on rare bird

Rio Tinto is progressing further into a research program on Australia’s rarest bird of prey with a signed agreement with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

The Red Goshawk agreement opens the pathway for the sharing of resources and research to be conducted across the AWC sanctuaries and Rio Tinto lease holdings.

AWC is the largest private owner of land for conservation in Australia and manages 4.6 million hectares in regions such as Kimberley, Cape York, Lake Eyre and the Top End.

In 2015, a red goshawk nest was sighted on Rio’s mining lease near Mapoon.

Rio Tinto Weipa operations general manager Daniel van der Westhuizen said, “The red goshawk is a fascinating bird of prey, however limited information exists around its basic ecology and conservation requirements.

“In partnership with DES (Department of Environment & Science) we have been able to refine our tracking and trapping techniques over the past three years, with four individual birds fitted with transmitters over that time, providing invaluable information.”

The collaboration between Rio Tinto and AWC builds on a successful research program with the Queensland DES that commenced after the sighting.

The red goshawk is a large raptor that can grow to a length of 45–58cm, with a wingspan of 110–135cm. It is listed as ‘endangered’ in Queensland and ‘vulnerable’ by the Commonwealth Government.

Rio has other similar research agreements with local Indigenous ranger groups, universities and government agencies to study the threatened species on Western Cape York, including the palm cockatoo and northern quoll.