cultural values & threats

Jalunji-Warra Country is the area that takes in the sea and country south of Cooktown and north of Port Douglas and forms part of the landscape of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji.  The Traditional Owners of the Jalunji-Warra Bubu identifies a number of values important to them as both cultural and traditional management; and the bio/geo-physical.

While each is listed separately, they are intrinsically connected:



Traditional knowledge






SAcred sites


Bubu (land; a person’s country)






Jalun (sea) & reef




Threats to Cultural Values


Not being on Country


Lack of funding for rangers and other caring for Country work


Lack of decision power


Jalunji-Warra culture losing strength


wrong development


feral animals and weeds


disrespectful visitors


Wrong fishing and sea hunting


wrong fire


climate change


Dreaming that gives the rules for respecting Country.


Passing of knowledge to other generations keeps the lore alive, from gathering foods to cultural sites.


Important part of caring for Country that includes ceremonies, dances and music.


Important in keeping the Yalanji language alive, especially when there is a need to call out to the old people of Yalanji.


A significant number are in this area for a number of differing purposes


As with non-Traditional Owners the importance of the various ecosystems and individual plants and animals for biodiversity purposes is high as is the uses of plants and animals for food, cultural practices and medicines.


Many sacred sites are located on waterways and rainbow serpent story places along waterways. Their importance as food sources is high.


Mudflats, mangroves, rocky coastlines and beaches are highly valued places for food and have high cultural values.


Many story places connect bubu and jalun. They are also important as a food source.


Valued for bird, bat and turtle habitat


Only a few Bama live on Country. As quoted from Jalunji-Warra Indigenous Protected Area Management Plan; “The only place where Jalunji-Warra culture and Traditional management belong is on Jalunji-Warra Country”.


Many changes have occurred since landscape management was solely the Traditional Owners responsibility and because few Bama live on Country their focus of management has been disconnected. With resources for Bama to work on Country provides potential to also live on Country.


Full decision power has been removed from the Bama and even now has limited decision power, e.g. issues that affect Bama native title.


Much of the culture is weakening because many Bama were removed from their Country. This removal led to traditional management skills being lost or weakened. The United Nation has classified the Eastern Kuku Yalanji language as severely endangered and many of the young generation are not learning their language.


This area north of the Daintree has not been impacted as severely as other areas. But with settlement comes more access, spread of weeds, dogs and restriction of access for cultural activities on freehold land.


There are now over one hundred known weeds on bubu. Pond Apple is a very serious weed in the Baileys Creek and Cape Kimberley areas. Pigs dig up plants, erode damp areas, damage springs, wells, burial places and other cultural sites.  

The following three documents outline: 

a) the priority weeds identified by Council

b) a comprehensive lists of weeds this side of the Daintree that we needs to be aware of, and

c) a guideline to assist Council for pig trapping on your property.

Douglas Shire Pest Management Plan

Weed List



Because a number of visitors do not understand and respect Bama Country a number of problems occur. Going to places where no-one should go, or is a man or woman place. Going off-track in 4-wheel drives, leave rubbish, etc.


Bama lore about fishing and sea hunting looked after fish, dugong and turtle. Now with power boats and fishing equipment hunting is easier and as a consequence impact on numbers.


Before European settlement there were open areas due to fire management. These open areas provided important food sources such as wallabies and reptiles. Now with the absence of fire management these open areas are now rainforest.


More intense cyclones, change in pollinating times and migration of flora and fauna which are temperature dependant will increase thereby changing the linkages that makes up this landscape. 

We welcome you to browse the following two resources for further information about the affect of climate change on the Daintree:

This video features work achieved by organisations such as James Cook University and CSIRO.  It considers the implications of climate change for Far North Queensland.

This link is for  access the full Report on Climate Change Issues and Impacts in our region.