Australia’s first Indigenous-led recovery plan for the great desert skink (Tjakura)

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

A new recovery plan will help protect one of Australia’s most iconic native lizards.

Also known as the Great Desert Skink (Liopholis kintorei), the Tjakura is classified as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Indigenous Desert Alliance prepared the recovery plan using First Nations knowledge and scientific research. Through Australian Government funding support they developed the plan through workshops with rangers, school visits, ranger exchanges, and documentation of the species’ cultural significance.

The plan includes activities like:

  • predator and fire management by Traditional Owners
  • surveying new areas
  • documenting and supporting cultural knowledge and practices.

The Tjakura is known by various names in different Aboriginal languages including, Tjalapa, Mulyamiji, Warrarna and Nampu. It is a special animal for First Nations people across the desert who continue to celebrate it in art, dance and song.

Once found widely across the Gibson, Great Victoria, Tanami and Great Sandy Desert regions, Tjakura populations have diminished due to threats including:

  • unmanaged fire
  • predation
  • invasive species
  • climate change.

The plan has been jointly made by the Commonwealth, Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian governments.

Through our Nature Positive work, we are seeking to halt extinctions and restore more of what is damaged, so that native species can thrive.

Read the plan and find out how you can support this vulnerable species: National Recovery Plan for the Great Desert Skink (Liopholis kintorei) 2023-2033

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