Norfolk Island National Park
|Norfolk Island National Park
Captain Cook lookout within the Norfolk Island National Park
|Nearest town or city||Burnt Pine|
|Area||6.5 km2 (2.5 sq mi)|
|Managing authorities||Director of National Parks|
|Website||Norfolk Island National Park|
Norfolk Island National Park is a protected area of 6.50 km2 established in 1984 and managed by the Commonwealth of Australia. It comprises two sections, the Mount Pitt section on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific Ocean with an area of 4.60 km2 and the neighboring 1.90 km2 Phillip Island, as well as the much smaller Nepean Island. The National Park serves as a nature sanctuary for several severely endangered species, as well as a vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts. The Norfolk Island group is an Australian territory and the park is managed by the Director of National Parks. It is the only place in the world where the Norfolk Island parakeet and the white-chested white-eye occur.
Norfolk National Park, located on Norfolk Island, Australia, is one of many national parks in Oceania. Located at 129 S, 169 E, the island is about 1471 kilometers off the East coast of Australia. The National Park serves as a nature sanctuary for several severely endangered species, as well as a vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts. It is maintained by staff on-hand and funded by the Australian government. The park’s area includes the Mt. Pitt section on Norfolk Island (460 ha) and the neighboring Phillip Island (190 ha).
Norfolk Island National Park was established in 1984 and is managed by the commonwealth of Australia. Mount Pitt and the Botanical Gardens were both established as part of Norfolk Island National Park in 1984. They were declared a National Park under the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1975. Before the national park was established, the territory was considered a public reserve under the Commons and Public Reserves Ordinance of 1936. Due to steep terrain and rocky cliffs, much of the land has remained unfarmable, leaving the majority of the island untouched. During World War 2, a radar station was placed on top of Mount Bates, and can still be visited today.
Norfolk Island National Park is home to 182 native plant species and serves as a refuge for 40 endemic plant species, 15 of which are listed as threatened (critically endangered) species under Part 13 of the EPBC Act. For example, Clematis Dubia, a “woody climber with white and hairy flowers” is a critically endangered plant, and the Norfolk Island National Park is vital to its survival. There were only 15 known plants of this species left in 2003. Threats to this plant and plants like it include habitat destruction, fire, invasive species, extreme weather, and a decrease in population of the animals that pollinate them. Also significant is the white oak (Lagunaria patersonia), an important food source for native animals like the Norfolk Island Green Parrot and the Lord Howe Island gecko. Other notable trees include the Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla), an endemic species that is important to island ecosystems and culture.
There are two native reptiles, the Lord Howe Island gecko and the Lord Howe Island skink, both of which occur only on Phillip Island. There are two native mammals, Gould’s wattled bat (Chalinolobus gouldii) and the Eastern free-tail bat (Mormopterus norfolkensis), which are both thought to be extinct. The reason that many of the native animals are endangered or extinct is largely because of feral animals, such as the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the feral fowl (Gallus gallus).
Norfolk Island is home to the endangered Green Parrot, which is on the brink of extinction under threat from feral cats and rats. These birds only live on Norfolk Island, but park rangers and environmentalists are working together along with citizens to raise money and help grow the population and move some of these birds to the safer nearby Phillip Island, which lacks natural predators, where an insurance colony has been launched. The parrots are brought to the island as of chicks so that they do not try and fly back to the main island, and are to be kept in an aviary and hand fed until they can be released back into the wild. The green parrot conservation effort was funded through the island’s first use of a crowdfunding system, which had a target of $77,000 and raised almost $90,000, and also funded building homes for the rare Boobook Owl. The excess money went towards replanting plants green parrots use as food, and towards predator eradication on the island.
Only seven of the 15 species of birds endemic to the island still remain.
Norfolk Island National Park, like the rest of the island, has a temperate climate. Its average January high temperature is 71F. The average July high temperature is 62F. June is the rainiest month, receiving 98mm of precipitation, while February has the least, with just 37mm of precipitation. The temperature is quite moderate even in the summer, with an average of only 0.9 days with a high above 77F.
Norfolk Island National Park attracts tourists and provides activities for nature enthusiasts. The National Park’s Botanical Garden hosts several rare species of plants and birds, as well as many other types of wildlife. The island is the indigenous home of the tallest tree ferns on earth (Cyathea brownii). Birdwatching is popular, and there are many hiking trails through the park and around the island as well as a golf course. Fishing is also a popular activity, though freshwater fishing is scarce because of a lack of indigenous fresh fish on the park’s grounds. In fact, only two native fresh fish have ever been recorded on the Island: the Longfinned Eel (Anguilla Reinhardtii) and the Shortfinned Eel (Anguilla australis). Fresh fish have been introduced to the freshwater streams and lakes on the island over time by park management. The park also offers many areas for barbecues and picnics, as well as the Captain Cook monument and lookout platform commemorating Captain Cook, who once stated that the island was a “paradise”. The park is also the home to Mt. Pitt and Mt. Bates, the two highest points on Norfolk Island.
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