The Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was declared 13 years ago on 4th June 2008 at a ceremony at Chuulangun on the upper Wenlock River on Cape York Peninsula, northern Australia. This is the first stage of the Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju Ngaachi IPA which covers an area of 197,500 hectares of culturally, spiritually and biologically significant country. The IPA is located on Aboriginal Freehold Land with the permission of the Traditional Custodians and the landholder under the Queensland Aboriginal Land Act 1991, being the Mangkuma Land Trust. The Kaanju Ngaachi IPA is the 25th IPA to be declared in Australia and the first on Cape York. in 2018 our IPA Funding Contract with the Australian Government was extended until 2023.
The Australian Government's Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) Program has been helping Indigenous communities voluntarily dedicate their land or sea country as IPAs since 1997. IPAs "are areas of land and sea country owned or managed by Indigenous groups, which are voluntarily managed as a protected area for biodiversity conservation through an agreement with the Australian Government." Most IPAs are dedicated under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Categories 5 and 6, which promote a balance between conservation and other sustainable uses to deliver social, cultural and economic benefits for local Indigenous communities (Indigenous Protected Areas).
The Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers IPA is managed by the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation for the Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju Traditional Custodians. The key aspirations, actions and milestones for the protected area are set out in the Kaanju Ngaachi IPA Plan of management which was prepared in 2005. This plan was reviewed in 2011 and again in 2018. Our IPA plans are available to view upon request from the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation.
Our IPA Management Plan works alongside the following plans and strategies developed by the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation:
Kaanju Ngaachi IPA Plan of Management (2005, 2011, 2018)
Northern Kaanju Fire Strategy
Northern Kaanju Weed Management Plan
Kaanju Ngaachi IPA Fauna Survey
Kaanju Homelands Feral Animal Management Strategy
Kuuku I'yu Fire Strategy Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju Ngaachi Cultural Heritage Management Plan
Kuuku I'yu Rock Art Project 2014: Report on Cultural Heritage Management Issues
Kuuku I'yu Carbon Business Planning and Feasibility Study
Chuulangun Biocultural and Historical Tourism Experience (Draft)
Land management philosophy
The Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju worldview, in particular governance and cosmology, underlie all aspects of our relationships with homelands, including land ownership, land management practices and regimes, and our rights and obligations in regard to land and resource use and management. Kuuky I'yu Northern Kaanju governance and cosmology also determine contemporary Indigenous management of homelands and is thus the underlying philosophy for appropriate management and planning for homelands, and the philosophy driving the management plans for our homelands.
The guiding principles for the management of the IPA are:
Interconnection of the cultural and biological (the biocultural) - Kuuku I'yu Northern Kaanju people do not separate out the natural landscape from the cultural one as to do so is irrational.
Our ancient governance is as relevant today as in the pre-colonial past - we manage our Ngaachi in accordance with indigenous laws based on bloodline and ancient systems of governance and we expect others to respect this.
Working together for mutual benefit - we work with our neighbours and people in the region to support the local economy, sustainable land management and sustainable livelihoods on country.
Capacity-building the homelands - we develop homelands-based projects, education and training that will enhance the capacity of people living on homelands.
Correlating the Indigenous and western sciences - we incorporate, where appropriate, Indigenous knowledge with western scientific processes providing beneficial outcomes for natural and cultural resource management policy and practice.
IUCN Management Category
The Kaanju Ngaachi IPA is managed according to IUCN Protected Area Category 5:
Protected Landscape/Seascape: Protected Areas managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation
Area of land, with coasts and seas as appropriate, where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, cultural and/or ecological value, and often with high biological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an area.(IUCN. 1994. Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories. CNPPA with the assistance of WCMC. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.)
Significant achievements for the IPA over a decade include:
Currently, Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation employs one IPA Coordinator/Manager, one full time Ranger, and one Operational Support Officer with IPA funds. We employ more rangers on a part-time and casual basis when we are able to secure funding for other projects under other grant programs. Much of the work undertaken on the IPA is done voluntarilly by members of the Chuulangun community.
The Chuulangun community and rangers undertake a range of activities across the IPA including mapping and control of weeds and feral animals, fauna surveys in collaboration with western scientists, third party management including the maintenance of campgrounds and installation of signage, cultural heritage surveys, fire management and maintenance of property, plant and equipment.
Our rangers also undertake networking activities. Representatives from the Kaanju Ngaachi IPA attended the inaugural World Indigenous Network Conference (WINC13) held in Darwin in May 2013. This was a great opportunity to network with Indigenous people from across Australia and overseas and to communicate about the IPA. In March 2019 one of the Chuulangun Rangers attended the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Workshop and Indigenous Women Ranger Network Workshop held in Cairns. In May 2019 we were lucky to have the Lamalama Rangers visit the IPA to help open up the Chuulangun Campgrounds for the tourist season and to assist with clean-up after Cyclone Trevor which passed directly over Chuulangun in March 2019. In March 2020 two Chuulangun rangers attended the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Conference in Cairns.
A short film about the Northern Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers Indigenous Protected Area can be viewed if you click here.
You can download our Kaanju Ngaachi IPA promotional DL brochure if you click here.