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Collective impact saving the Helmeted Honeyeater

The Myer Foundation has given its support to a collaborative effort to save the endangered Helmeted Honeyeater.

The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria’s treasured avian emblem. Over the years habitat destruction has caused a massive decline in numbers. Today, the birds are critically endangered, with only small numbers existing in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.

Many organisations have worked to address this decline. The Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Team has overseen an impressive collaboration, internationally recognised as a scientifically-based, coordinated approach to species recovery. There’s been an encouraging increase in Helmeted Honeyeaters from approximately 50 in 2010 to 185 in 2016.

In 2015, the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater, Zoos Victoria and Trust for Nature, came together to establish an ‘Ensuring Sustainability’ initiative to seek philanthropic support for the scaling up of the essential roles each organisation performs:

  • Zoos Victoria’s captive breeding programme aims to boost a genetically diverse population with captive-bred birds released into suitable habitat.
  • Trust for Nature plays a vital role in securing suitable habitat.
  • The Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater provide extensive habitat restoration, supplementary feeding and monitoring of the captive released and wild born birds.

A large network of volunteers and students support the initiative, including students from Worawa Aboriginal College.

Instead of individually seeking philanthropic support, the three ‘Ensuring Sustainability’ partners joined forces. In June 2016 they secured a grant of $200,000 from The Myer Foundation. The grant will support the first stage of a three stage evidence-based programme for providing a sustainable future beyond the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve for the Helmeted Honeyeater.