Our story began in 1997 when Katherine Moseby and John Read began lobbying for support with the creation of a rabbit-free reserve for the purpose of ecosystem restoration and research.
A committee was formed from representatives of WMC Resources, the SA Department for Environment & Heritage and the University of Adelaide. Community members formed a group called Friends of Arid Recovery, completing a four-way partnership.
We began with construction of a 14km² fenced reserve and eradication of rabbits, cats and foxes within this area. The reserve is now 123km2, with five native species successfully re-introduced.
Arid Recovery is on the country of the Kokatha people. We recognise the enduring relationship they have with their country and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
Following decades of fighting for acknowledgement of country, the Kokatha people have been granted Consent Determination for Native Title in the Gawler Ranges region and Kokatha Uwankara Native Title Claim (SC09/1).
Arid Recovery has been involved with the Kokatha people from the early years. Kokatha people were involved in building the first feral-proof fences, and archaeological surveys were done in the Reserve in 2013 to determine locations of culturally significant sites, which are now protected in-situ.
We are also collaborating with Kokatha Pastoral and BHP as part of our feral control program. As our closest neighbours, having the support of both organisations is critical in ensuring that Arid Recovery remains feral-free.
There are very exciting prospects for the future. In late 2018 a large Kokatha sign was erected in front of the Reserve’s entrance gate, featuring the Kalta, or sleepy lizard. It serves as a vivid reminder to all staff and visitors that we are on Kokatha country.