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Tanami Desert facts for kids

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Australia deserts
Location of deserts in Australia
IBRA 6.1 Tanami
The IBRA regions, with Tanami in red

The Tanami Desert is a desert in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is rocky with small hills, an arid and isolated area that was not fully explored until well into the twentieth century. It is crossed by the Tanami Track. The explorer John McDouall Stuart made repeated attempts to cross the desert in the 1860's while trying to reach the Victoria River. He was unable to find water.

Under the name Tanami, it is one of the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions. The desert is uniquely "one of the most important biological areas to be found in Australia particularly as it provides refuge for several of Australia's rare and endangered species."

The species that are found include:

  • Western Chestnut Mouse (Pseudomys nanus)
  • Little Native Mouse (Pseudomys delicatulus)
  • Long-tailed Planigale (Planigale ingrami)

Significant bird species include:

  • Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos)
  • Australian Painted Snipe (Rostratula australis)
  • Freckled duck (Stictonetta naevosa)

Indigenous people

The Tanami Desert is home to the Kukatja and Walpiri people. The Tjurabalan live at the edge of the desert.

  • Kelly, Kieran, (2003) Tanami : on foot across Australia's desert heart Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2003.
  • Thackway, R and I D Cresswell (1995) An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia : a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program Version 4.0 Canberra : Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, 1995.

Coordinates: 20°S 130°E / 20°S 130°E / -20; 130

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