De Witt Island

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De Witt Island

De Witt Island, also known as Big Witch, is a 517 hectares (1,280 acres) island in south-eastern Australia. It is the largest of the Maatsuyker Island Group, lying close to the southern end of the south-western coast of Tasmania. Its highest point is 354 metres (1,161 ft) above mean sea level. It is part of the Southwest National Park, and thus within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site. Although currently uninhabited, it has a long history of human usage, including logging and occasional habitation.[1][2] The island is part of the Maatsuyker Island Group Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance as a breeding site for seabirds.[3]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The island is extensively forested with the principal species being Eucalyptus nitida, Swamp Gum and Messmate. Sheltered areas also have Leatherwood and Myrtle Beech.

Recorded breeding seabird and wader species are the Little Penguin (500 pairs), Short-tailed Shearwater (11,000 pairs), Fairy Prion (50 pairs), Silver Gull and Sooty Oystercatcher. Swift Parrots have been recorded. Mammals present include the Tasmanian Pademelon, Long-nosed Potoroo and Swamp Rat. Reptiles recorded are the Metallic Skink and Tasmanian Tree Skink.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN 0-7246-4816-X
  2. ^ Small Southern Islands Conservation Management Statement 2002, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, 2002, archived from the original on 2006-08-22, retrieved 2006-07-20 
  3. ^ BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Maatsuyker Island Group. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2011.

Coordinates: 43°35′51″S 146°21′35″E / 43.59750°S 146.35972°E / -43.59750; 146.35972