Badger Island

Found in the Bass Strait off the north-eastern tip of Tasmania, Badger Island and��Mount Chappell Island form part of the Furneaux Group of islands. Badger Island (1,244 hectares) was once well-wooded. Only small areas of the original species now remain, including stands of She-oak, Coastal Teatree, and Swamp Paperbark.

The intense exploitation of the islands for their natural resources started in the 1790s, following the exploration voyage of George Bass and Matthew Flinders through the Bass Strait on behalf of the colonial authorities. Sealers following in their wake had destroyed the seal colonies by 1838, and soon started to harvest mutton birds.

Mount Chappell Island and Badger Island have long been regarded by Aboriginal people as an important part of the seasonal food-gathering cycle.

Badger Island and Mount Chappell Island were handed back to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre as part of the land settlement in 1996. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre declared Badger Island, along with Chappell Island as Indigenous Protected Areas in September 2000.

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Of significant cultural heritage value, the islands once had a sustainable harvest of button birds and seals. However, the prior exploitation of the island natural resources by Europeans, as well as the degradation of the land by grazing, has seen the island suffer. Mutton birds numbers were further reduced as a result of weed incursion, predation by cats, competition with Cape Barren Geese, and burning by graziers to promote grass growth for their sheep.

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