Rice farmers welcome back Bitterns

18 Dec 2013 10:43 AM -

Rice crops in the Riverina region of New South Wales are growing steadily and the bitterns are returning. Dubbed Australia's 'bunyip bird', the Australasian Bittern is among the nation's most endangered species, and they've taken a liking to rice crops.

A pilot study conducted last summer identified rice growers as custodians of what appears to be the largest population ever recorded. Neil Bull from the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) said it was very encouraging to confirm a minimum of 70 individuals using rice crops during the 2012-2013 season.

"Only a small proportion of rice crops were surveyed, so the actual number was likely to run well into the hundreds. It's now clear that the rice industry can play in a key role in the conservation of bitterns," Mr Bull said.

Read the full media release here