Tronox Supports Conservation Research

Dec 10, 2021 - Insights

Tronox supports conservation research for the wedge-tailed eagle near our Chandala, Australia plant.

As we maintain our focus on operating safe, reliable, and responsible facilities and build mutually rewarding relationships as a trustworthy and reliable partner, Tronox continued its funding for environmental programs through the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions (DBCA) to support positive environmental outcomes around our Chandala plant in Australia.

For the past four years, part of Tronox’s funding has been earmarked for research on wedge-tailed eagle or Waalitj (local Aboriginal Noongar name). The project involves collecting important data on Australia’s largest bird of prey, including breeding density, home range, juvenile dispersal, and the impact of climate on breeding productivity.

The funding originally went toward tracking a juvenile female eagle named Baakinny, who was tagged in 2017 with a lightweight tracking device called a Platform Terminal Transmitter (PTT). This was attached to the eagle’s back using a specially designed harness and recorded hourly GPS fixes of her location. In 2019, the funds were allocated to tracking a juvenile male named Ngooni, one of 24 eagles tracked since the project began in mid-2013.

The young wedge-tailed eagle logged 1,500 kilometers of flight in 2020.

This video shows Ngooni’s flight paths. He logged thousands of kilometers after leaving his Perth Hills nest.

“Wedge-tailed eagles seem to show more settled behavior as they move into their second and third years of life,” said PhD candidate and wedge-tailed eagle specialist Simon Cherriman. “Ngooni still undertook a couple of inter-regional journeys within Western Australia, despite some of the travel restrictions imposed on our state due to COVID-19…completing a journey of well over 1500km.” 

Some facts about wedge-tailed eagles:

  • Wingspan of 2.3 meters
  • Females weigh 4.2-5.3kg
  • Males weigh 2.5-4.0kg
  • Long, wedge-shaped tail
  • Legs that are feathered all the way to the base
  • Their call is a loud piping “psee-eew” and a hoarse yelp
  • Their nests consist of a massive platform of sticks, lined with sprays of green eucalypt leaves and placed in the fork of a tree, up to 40 m above ground
  • Lifespan unknown in the wild, but a captive bird died at 63 years old
  • Prey includes live rabbits, kangaroos, foxes, birds and reptiles and dead livestock
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