Bushcraft expert, TV personality Ray Mears visits Kangaroo Island

British survival TV personality Ray Mears travelled to Kangaroo Island recently to meet with locals and check in on the glossy-black cockatoo population following the bushfires.

Mears, a bushcraft and survival expert, turned documentary maker, said three years ago he visited KI and learnt about the Glossy Black Cockatoo Recovery Program and was keen to find out how they had fared with the bushfires.

"I visited KI almost three years ago and was lucky enough to catch up with the work of the glossy-black recovery team then, learning of the work and how delicate the balance for the birds was, so imagine my concern when I heard of the bushfires," Mr Mears said.

Before the bushfires, Kangaroo Island was estimated to have about 370 glossy black-cockatoos, congregating in seven main flocks. Five of these flocks relied almost entirely on habitat in the bushfire-affected area for feeding and nesting, while another flock only has part of its habitat in the area. The seventh flock is based mostly on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island.

About 75 per cent of South Australia's endangered glossy black-cockatoo population, found only on Kangaroo Island, lived in the bushfire zone and a significant percentage of its known feeding habitat was burnt. Mr Mears said visiting both unburnt and burnt areas of the glossy habitat today it is clear to see the benefits of the recovery team's work.

"Witnessing glossies returning to the artificial nests on the eastern end of the island, installed at Lathami Conservation Park, was a joy to behold and is testament to the hard work of the dedicated team."

Karleah Berris from the Glossy Black Cockatoo Recovery Program at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island said it was great to see someone of Mr Mears' standing take an interest in the recovery of both the glossies and the Island.

"Ray's enthusiasm for the glossy black cockatoos, and the island, is incurable.

We're so pleased that he had come all this way to see us again," said Ms Berris.

"He was impressed with the Aussie spirit of everyday islanders helping to rebuild this island."

Long-term glossy-black cockatoo bushfire recovery actions are underway including building and installing new nest boxes and planting she-oak trees. The remaining glossy-black cockatoo population is being monitored to better understand flock movements following the bushfires, and a glossy black population count will be carried out in spring 2020.

Mr Mears promised to speak widely of both the island and the Glossy Black Cockatoo Recovery Program on his return to the United Kingdom to try and raise awareness of and gain further support for both.

If you would like to help the recovery program for the glossy-black cockatoos you can now donate directly to the program through a fund set up with Nature Foundation SA. You can do so by heading here.

For more information about the recovery program, head here.

The Department for Environment and Water have also established a fund with Nature Foundation SA for all wildlife across SA affected by the bushfires, you can donate to the Wildlife Recovery Fund here.