Arckaringa daisy to be protected in SA

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Arckaringa daisy to be protected in SA

Plans are being made to ensure the endangered flower known as the Arckaringa daisy keeps flourishing.

Olearia arckaringensis only occurs in a very small area north of Coober Pedy.

A survey conducted in 2017 found only about 2,000 left but the South Australian Arid Lands Landscape Board said it would work with Antakarintja traditional owners and pastoralists to preserve it.

Over 50 plants will be placed in wire mesh exclusion cages to protect the flowers from livestock and other herbivore threats.

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board senior community ecologist Kristian Bell said the measures would quantify how much damage the daisies were incurring from livestock.

He said that we know little about the impact from livestock and large herbivores such as kangaroos, feral donkeys and horses.

By caging plants, we will be able to gauge how healthy the plants are in a year's time compared to how healthy they are outside the cage.

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board Chair Ross Sawers said protecting the daisy was of the utmost importance.

It is important to do what we can to make sure the population is given the chance of long-term survival, as a species known to exist in such a small area, according to Mr Sawers.

The project will also implement seed propagation to boost flower numbers and DNA samples will be taken to get a better idea of the flower's composition.

The lab-germinated flowers will be moved into the area to see if they can survive the natural habitat.

The daisy was discovered by chance in 2000 by two scientists Rob Brandle and Peter Lang who found it in the gullies of the Breakaways in an isolated pocket of the Arckaringa Station.

In 2011 there were two more variants of the Arckaringa daisy found along the same cliff line.

It's only known to occur on two stations, Mr Bell said.

Rob saw this plant and immediately knew it was something a bit different, and then Peter Lang went away and took samples and did all the taxonomies and described it as a new species.

It's probably unlikely that we will find it on any additional stations, but there's a chance we might spot it in another place.

If we can prevent a species from disappearing through our actions, then I think there is an ethical argument to say that we should prevent it from disappearing.