Accident cost native flora destruction

Southern Queen of Sheba Orchid. Picture: Lyn Alcock/Facebook
Southern Queen of Sheba Orchid. Picture: Lyn Alcock/Facebook

AUTHORITIES have rehabilitated a track where native orchids were accidentally destroyed by national park staff.

A conservation group expressed their dismay at the destruction of Southern Queen of Sheba orchids, native to WA’s South West region, at Gull Rock National Park 25km from Albany.

WA Native Orchid Society member Lyn Alcock said a bobcat was used to plough an area where the orchids were known to be located, in a Facebook post on Monday.

“We just stood there on top of one of the piles of dirt and we were absolutely speechless,” she said.

“It was just devastation, sadness, anger and there were other people there who were experiencing the same as us.”

Picture: Lyn Alcock/Facebook

A Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions spokesperson said their staff have met with local orchid group representatives to discuss the matter.

“In undertaking the rehabilitation and closure of unauthorised tracks in Gull Rock National Park, staff from the DBCA inadvertently disturbed previously unknown individual Queen of Sheba orchids,” the spokesperson said.

“It should be noted that Thelymitra variegata (Queen of Sheba) is not listed as declared rare flora under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

“The unauthorised track, which was 60 metres in length, had been used by people for dumping rubbish and abandoned cars.”

“DBCA was aware of the presence of orchids in the area adjacent to the unauthorised track, however there was no record of the orchids on the actual track.

“Under the supervision of DBCA staff, the track was rehabilitated and closed by ripping and heaping soils along the track.”

The beautiful Queen of Sheba has so many different pinks and Purples. Magic.

Posted by Camm Photography on Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Ms Alcock said more than 200 Queen of Sheba orchids were recorded in the Albany area last year and losing about 30 in one go was significant.

“Many people in Albany are aware of this orchid and go out to see it every year and marvel at its beauty,” she said.

“And people from overseas even come to see this orchard so it’s a great tourist attraction for Albany.”

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