Bilbies Back After 30 Years

Bilbies Back After 30 Years

Western Australia Minister for Environment Donna Faragher

Bilbies Back At Perup

Victor P Taffa

A total of 35 Captive-Bred Bilbies have been released into the Tone-Perup Nature Reserve in the South-West as part of a Conservation Project to re-establish the species in an area where it has not been seen for 30 years.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher said the bilbies were released this week and scientists were confident that the mammals would survive within the nature reserve at Perup, located 50 km North-East of Manjimup.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that bilbies known locally as dalgytes were present within the Perup area until as late as the 1970’s, which means the area contains habitat suitable for the species.” Mrs. Faragher said.

“The main portion of the Perup area has been baited for control of foxes since 1992, with dramatic recovery of fauna due also to the area containing gastrolobium (poison pea) thickets which provide a sanctuary for native species as they naturally contain the same poison used in the baits.”

 

“This exciting reintroduction of Bilbies to the Perup Area will mark their return to the forested areas of the South-West of Western Australia after 30 years absence.”

The Bilby was once widely distributed across Australia but has declined dramatically and is classified as a threatened species with a ranking of vulnerable under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

“The species now only survives in scattered and isolated populations in the arid regions of WA, the Northern Territory and South-West Queensland.” the Minister said.

“A national recovery plan for the species has been prepared and includes captive breeding and re-establishment of wild populations among the recovery actions.”

“The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has established a captive breeding program with bilbies sourced from a number of wild WA populations as well as other captive colonies.”

Mrs. Faragher said the animals were being airlifted or driven to Perup from DEC’s Peron Captive Breeding Centre in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area and Dryandra Woodland South of Perth.

Once they have been translocated, DEC will undertake intensive monitoring of the bilbies involving radio tracking and trapping to ensure their survival.” the Minister said.