Charnley River-Artesian Range has a vital role to play in protecting and restoring the endangered wildlife of northern Australia. The Artesian Range is located adjacent to the Kimberley coast, in the heart of one of Australia’s most rugged and inaccessible regions. Covering 173,000 hectares, the Artesian Range and surrounding areas are home to more than 30 animal species that are found nowhere else in Australia, either because they have disappeared from the rest of their range (eg, the Golden-backed Tree-rat) or because they are endemic to the north Kimberley (eg, the Monjon and the Black Grasswren).
Visiting the Artesian Range is like stepping back in time – it is embedded in perhaps the only region on mainland Australia where there have been no faunal extinctions since European settlement. Topography and high rainfall are two of the factors which have helped protect the Artesian Range. Bounded by the Charnley and Isdell Rivers, the area is a “lost world” of spectacular sandstone ranges dissected by deep, rainforest-filled gorges. To date, this topography appears to have limited the impacts of feral herbivores and feral cats and wildfire.
In addition to the range of species which are now restricted to the Kimberley coastal region, the Artesian Range is also a stronghold for threatened and declining species such as the Northern Quoll. With most areas accessible only by helicopter, the Artesian Range is managed by AWC staff based at Charnley River Station and at Mornington.