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Witjira National Park Fauna & Flora

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Witjira National Park Fauna and Flora - Cities, Towns and Localities
Thermal Springs Wildlife

Witjira National Park stretches across 780,000 ha of desert landscape, in one of the driest regions in Australia. It encompasses a range of habitats, that includes the unique thermal mound springs.

Such abundance of water also support a range of wildlife in the Witjira National Park region. From mammals to reptiles, the springs and surrounding region also provide a haven for birdlife. Whilst many creatures are only seen at dawn, dust and night, patience and a stillness will provide a better chance to catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife in the region.

The warm water of the springs in this desert landscape also provide a home to some unique species of aquatic life. In Dalhousie Springs fish species include the Dalhousie hardy-head (Craterocephalus dalhousiensis), the Dalhousie catfish (Neosilurus sp A), Dalhousie goby (Chlamydogobius gloveri), spangled perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor), Dalhousie mogurnda (Mogurnda sp 2).1

Witjira National Park Fauna and Flora

Aquatic Life
The waters of the thermal mound springs in the Witjira National Park are of particular scientific interest, as many of the aquatic creatures such as the fish, have developed a tolerance to the variations of water temperature.

The Dalhousie Springs and other mound springs are home to a number of endemic species of fish1. Fish species in Dalhousie Springs include the:
  • Dalhousie hardy-head (Craterocephalus dalhousiensis)
  • Dalhousie catfish (Neosilurus sp A)
  • Dalhousie goby (Chlamydogobius gloveri)
  • Spangled perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor)
  • Dalhousie mogurnda (Mogurnda sp 2).

Native Mammals
Native mammals in the area are generally rare or not easily seen, many being nocturnal. Many of Australia's mid-sized mammals are now extinct due to habitat loss and the impact of introduced species. In these desert areas the struggle for survival is compounded by erratic and harsh conditions. Some of the mammals that lived in these desert areas include Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata), Long-haired Rat (Rattus villosissimus), White-striped Mastiff Bat (Tadarida australis), Paucident Planigale (Planigale gilesi).

Whilst most native mammals are not seen, the exception are dingoes and the occasional red kangaroo. Most of the mammals you are likely to see are introduced species and considered pests, such as camels, donkeys and rabbits.
Birds
The thermal mound springs provide a haven for birdlife, including waterfowl, raptors, ducks, cormorants, grebes, stilts and egrets, as well as a variety of smaller woodland and shrubland species. In particular the park support three rare bird species - the Australian bustard, the flock bronzewing and the plains-wanderer. Dalhousie Springs is part of a water corridor which helps birds move from south-eastern Australia to the Northern Territory and in some cases the northern hemisphere.

The pools and drainage creeks provide an ideal habitat for waterbirds, with over 150 species known to frequent this area, including several species that live on the harsh gibber tablelands.
Reptiles
Reptiles are a significant part of the park fauna, although most are small and hard to see. Some species you may see while travelling are the central bearded dragon, Gould's sand goanna and the Perentie. Whilst snakes are seldom encountered, you may come across the venomous western brown and king brown. The region is also home to the world's most venomous snake, the inland taipan. Dalhousie reptiles range from the giant perentie to the tiny tree dtella.

Most reptiles avoid their enemies and the extremes of summer heat by staying underground during the heat of the day, coming out to feed and bask at other times.

Source: DEWNR: Witjira National Park brochure & park signage at Dalhousie Springs

Dingo at Dalhousie Springs
• Witjira National Park Flora
Colocynth melon growing in Witjira National Park Brown-head Samphire (Halosarcia indica ssp. leiostachya) Old Man Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)

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Witjira National Park Local Services
Mt Dare Hotel
• Witjira National Park, SA • Ph: 08 8670 7835 • Email
• Mt Dare Hotel is the most isolated and South Australia’s northern most pub. It does not run as a cattle station, but is a privately owned and operated Lease within the Witjira National Park, servicing travellers of the Simpson Desert. We welcome travellers with outback service and advice — we welcome thirsty travellers to stop for lunch or camp for the night. We have shady bush camping, hot showers, homestead style accommodation, fuel (diesel, ULP and Avgas), mechanical and tyre repairs, hot pies and milkshakes etc, basic supermarket items, satellite phone hire and sales, Dalhousie and Simpson Desert Passes. We also do vehicle recovery.
 
 

Source:
1 Australia's desert springs. Retrieved July 27, 2012, from http://www.desertfishes.org/australia/habitats/springs/springen.shtml
 
2 Great Artesian Basin Springs: Witjira-Dalhousie. AHC final assessment report: Witjira-Dalhousie Springs (PDF 104 Kb). Retrieved July 28, 2012
   
> Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources: Witjira National Park
 
 
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